New Delhi/Islamabad: As many as three Indian engineers, who were abducted in 2018 in Afghanistan by the Taliban forces are all set to be released. The development comes days after the US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad met Taliban in Pakistan's capital Islamabad.
Seven Indians, mostly engineers working at a power station were abducted by the Taliban in May 2018. One of them was released earlier this year in March 2019. They were abducted in Bagh-e-Shamal village near the Pul-e-Khomri city which is the capital of northern Baghlan province in Afghanistan in 2018.
US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad on meeting the Taliban in Pakistan, demanded from the American side the release of foreign prisoners in the Taliban custody. A government source in Islamabad said the American side had asked the Taliban to release five foreigners in their custody which included 3 Indian engineers, one Australian and one American. The Taliban met with the US envoy was confirmed on Saturday, the first such encounter since President Donald Trump announced a month ago that a seemingly imminent peace deal to end Afghanistan’s 18-year war was dead.
The seven abducted Indians were working in Indian company KEC headquartered in Mumbai. The company owns an electricity sub-station contract in the area. Earlier in March 2018, one of the abducted Indian was brought back to India
The Ministry of External Affairs in a release said, "We are grateful to the Government of Afghanistan for their support in securing the release and repatriation of the Indian national." "We continue to work closely with the Government of Afghanistan for the safe and early return of the remaining six Indian nationals," MEA added.
More than 60 Indians were working for KEC in different projects across Afghanistan. This is not the first case of abduction of Indians in Afghanistan. In 2016, an Indian aid worker Judith D Souza was kidnapped by and was released after 40 days.
(Inputs from Sidhant Sibal and Anas Mallick)