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Security for Indians in Afghanistan under review

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April 30, 2006 17:38 IST

In the wake of the abduction and killing of engineer K Suryanarayana by Taliban in Afghanistan, India decided on Sunday to review and strengthen security measures for its nationals working on various projects there and asked private companies employing Indians to do so as well.

New Delhi asserted that it will 'never bow' to acts of terror and its reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan will not stop because of such incidents.

"Several measures have been taken in the past few months to increase the level of security for Indian nationals working on Indian government-aided projects in Afghanistan," Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran told reporters.

He said private companies employing Indians had also been advised to put in place comprehensive security measures. "These measures would be further reviewed and strengthened," he said.

The special team of senior officials, sent to Afghanistan on Saturday, to assist in efforts to seek Suryanarayana's release, has been mandated to make 'any further recommendations to the government after consulting Afghan authorities, our embassy and the companies employing Indian citizens', the foreign secretary said.

About 2,000 Indians are working on various reconstruction and developmental projects in Afghanistan. The government had earlier reviewed the security of Indians in Afghanistan in January after a jawan of the Border Roads Organisation, engaged in construction of a road between Zaranj and Delaram, was abducted and killed by Taliban.

Further, some Indian doctors had received threats from Taliban. Following the review by a high-level team that went to Afghanistan, over 200 commandos of ITBP were sent to the war-torn country in March to provide proximate security to Indians engaged in various projects.

During the visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai earlier this month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had raised the issue of security of Indians there and received assurances in this regard. Describing as 'outrageous' the Taliban demand that all Indians leave Afghanistan, Saran said '(the) government and people of India will continue their fraternal assistance to the people of Afghanistan in their endeavours to bring peace, stability and economic recovery to their country ravaged by years of conflict'.

He pointed out that the Taliban demand 'testifies to the real motivation behind this act of terror' and asked the international community, including Pakistan, to recognise its 'true colours and joint hands together to defeat this scourge to humanity'.

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