The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Taliban threaten to kill Indian captives

Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, Dec. 9 (Agencies): Branding two kidnapped Indians intelligence agents, the Taliban have raised the spectre of killing them.

The two Indians, working on the US-funded Kandahar-Kabul road project, were abducted on Saturday. The Taliban threat coincided with a claim that they have murdered a Pakistani engineer linked to the US company executing the highway project.

Taliban intelligence official Mullah Abdul Samad told the Reuters that the two captives, a soil sampler named Murali and a foreman named Vardharai, were Indian intelligence agents.

He said documents and maps found on them showed they were involved in blasts at the Afghan-Pakistan border to damage relations between the countries. “The construction was just a charade to disguise their activities.”

He said a final decision would be taken by the Taliban leadership, but added: “I think there is a great possibility that they will be killed.”

Both the Indians are 24 and are employed by BSC-C&C, an Indian firm contracted to the Louis Berger Group Inc. the US company leading the project to renovate the Kabul-Kandahar road.

C.S. Sethi, the managing director of BSC-C&C, appealed for their release and said he wanted to make contact with their captors. “These boys are the most junior people in the company. They have nothing to do with any kind of politics and had never left the camp until Saturday,” he said

On Monday, the Pakistani engineer, Anwar Shah, was killed after his car was ambushed in southern Afghanistan. He worked for a Pakistani firm involved in rebuilding schools and clinics and was contracted by Louis Berger.

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