Indian engineer Sarang Mohammed Naeem and his Nepalese colleague K B Gurun, employees of a Dubai-based company, who were rescued by Afghan police from their captors after 27 days, were chained, starved and threatened with death.
The two said that they were probably kidnapped by a different group and not the Taliban. They were rescued by Afghan police from a mountainous area on Sunday.
''I am really happy that I am free and I thank God that I have reached back safely. It is slowly starting to sink in that we are now free,'' Naeem told Khaleej Times over the phone from the Dubai-based company's camp in Adraskan.
The duo was rescued about 10 km from Adraskan and 80 km from Herat province. Naeem, an operations engineer for the branch office of Dubai-based HEB International Logistics in Afghanistan, and Gurung, a housekeeping manager, and their taxi driver were abducted on April 21. The taxi driver was released earlier.
Recollecting the ordeal, the Indian engineer said, ''We were returning from Herat around 7 pm when we were stopped near a bridge by a few unidentified men. They forced us out of our van and took us in their vehicle. For the next five days, we traveled through the mountains. They kept changing our location for fear of being located. We changed at least 10 different places.''
He added, ''All through our captivity, our legs and hands were chained in the night. Only our hands were chained in the daytime. The living conditions were bad and we were living like animals.''
Though neither was physically harmed, they were often threatened with death. ''We drew strength and comfort from each other's presence. Since we were together, we felt a little safer.''
Naeem said both of them had lost nearly eight to 10 kgs as they were barely fed.
''We were given only Afghani bread and Afghani tea. Sometimes, they would feed us twice a day and on most days only once. There were days when we had nothing to eat,'' he said.
Sunil Shetty, HEB's director in Afghanistan, denied that the company had paid a ransom for the release of the two captives.