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Taliban claims to have killed Indian driver
rediff.com News Bureau | November 22, 2005 21:50 IST
Last Updated: November 23, 2005 00:19 IST
Agency reports on Tuesday evening quoted a Taliban spokesman saying that his group has killed the kidnapped Indian driver Maniappan R Kutty in Afghanistan.
When contacted about foreign agencies' reports quoting a purported Taliban spokesman as claiming to have killed Kutty, official sources here said "there is no confirmation. We are cross-checking the reports."
"We can not confirm the reports," External Affairs Spokesman Navtej Sarna told rediff.com.
Meanwhile, in Kerala, Kutty's relatives who spoke to his immediate family told rediff.com the family has not received any official word and were only following television reports.
Agence France-Presse quoted purported Taliban spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi saying Kutty was killed as there was no response to a 48-hour deadline issued to the road construction company he worked for to leave Afghanistan.
The deadline expired at 7:00 PM on Tuesday.
AFP further said that Ahmadi offered no evidence to support his claim and that men who say they speak for the Taliban often call the media to claim attacks and other incidents of violence, but their information has not always been correct.
"Today at 6:00 pm we killed the Indian roadworker with Kalashnikov shots, based on our earlier ultimatum," AFP said Ahmadi told them in a telephone call from an undisclosed location.
"We had given a 48-hour ultimatum. Nobody contacted us, that's why we killed the guy. We have thrown out his body," AFP quoted Ahmadi.
The decision to kill the man was made by a court of the hard-line movement's religious scholars.
Kutty, who worked for the Indian government's Border Roads Organisation, was kidnapped along with an Afghan driver and two security guards four days back while they were travelling from Gurguri to Minar in Nimroze province where Border Roads Organisation is undertaking a road construction project from Zaranj to Delaram.
The driver was released on Monday. Ahmadi said the other two Afghans were 'safe with us'.
The Afghan government said it was trying to check Ahmadi's claim.
"Right now I don't have any information. We are trying to check," Interior Ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanizai told AFP.
(With Agency Inputs)