Six Indians abducted in Afghanistan, Taliban hand suspected; MEA in touch with authorities

The MEA is aware of the kidnapping incident and is in touch with the Afghan authorities to ascertain more details about it. 

Six Indians abducted in Afghanistan, Taliban hand suspected; MEA in touch with authorities
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KABUL: Six Indian nationals, believed to be employed with a power company in Afghanistan, were abducted by a group of heavily armed unidentified men in northern Baghlan province, said reports on Sunday.

According to PTI, the External Affairs Ministry (MEA) is fully aware of the kidnapping incident and is in touch with the Afghan authorities to ascertain more details about it. 

TOLOnews said that some unidentified armed men abducted six Indians and one Afghan employee of Indian company KEC in Bagh-e-Shamal village of the provincial capital Pul-e-Khomre on Sunday, citing local officials.

The seven men were abducted while they travelling to the area where the company owns an electricity sub-station contract, it said.

Responding to queries on the reports of the abduction of the Indian nationals in Afghanistan, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said in New Delhi that they are aware of the abduction of Indian nationals from Baghlan province in Afghanistan. ''We are in contact with the Afghan authorities and further details are being ascertained," the MEA official said.

Baghlan provincial council has, meanwhile, linked the incident to the Taliban. 

However, no terror group has claimed responsibility for the abduction so far.
 
KEC is one of the largest Indian companies in Afghanistan that is responsible for electricity supply in the country.

The kidnapping of six Indians happened on the day when a powerful blast at a voter registration centre in Afghanistan's restive east killed or wounded at least 30 people.

The bomb had been placed in a tent being used to register voters on the grounds of a mosque, Khost provincial police chief Abdul Hanan Zadran was quoted as saying by AFP.

"A crowd of people who had come out of the mosque had gathered to register" when the blast took place, he said, putting the casualty toll at "about 30".

However, provincial deputy director of public health Gul Mohammad Mangal said at least 12 people had been killed and 33 wounded in the explosion.

Mangal warned the toll could rise, with several of the wounded in a critical condition.

It was the latest attack on election preparations and comes almost a week after 25 people were killed in a double bombing in the Afghan capital Kabul.

Nine journalists including AFP chief photographer Shah Marai were among the dead. BBC reporter Ahmad Shah was killed in a separate attack in Khost province.

The latest assault on a voter registration centre is likely to deter more people from signing up for the long-delayed parliamentary and district council elections scheduled for October 20.

On April 22 a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a voter registration centre in Kabul, killing 60 people and wounding more than 100.

Just over 1.2 million adults had registered by Saturday, three weeks after the two-month long process began, data compiled by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) showed.

(With Agency inputs)

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