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Employer of Afghan Indians hopeful

Hyderabad, Dec. 10: The employer of two Indian road workers kidnapped in Afghanistan said today their abductors had made no demands and the men were expected to be freed soon, despite threats by Taliban to kill them.

“There is no threat to our workers so far,” B. Seenaiah, managing director of B. Seenaiah & Co (Projects) Ltd, said. “We are confident that they will be released safely within a week or 10 days.”

Seenaiah would not say why he was so confident a day after a Taliban intelligence official accused the two men, who are in their early 20s, of being Indian intelligence agents and said they were likely to be killed.

But Seenaiah did point to the release of a Turkish engineer who was abducted by Taliban on the same road and freed a week before the Indians were snatched.

The Indian workers, a soil sampler named Murali and a foreman named Varada Rao, employed on the Kandahar-Kabul road, were abducted by Taliban guerrillas on Saturday while they were out shopping.

Seenaiah’s company, headquartered in Hyderabad, has 250 workers, including 100 from Andhra Pradesh, in Afghanistan. “We have no enmity with them (Taliban). The kidnapped persons are ordinary workmen and not engineers,” Seenaiah said.

Seenaiah said Murali and Varada Rao were semi-skilled workers from poor families in the coastal district of Nellore in Andhra Pradesh. The two Indians are in Afghanistan since June.

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