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India confident of rescuing abducted aid worker in Afghanistan

June 17, 2014 12:24 IST

Abducted Indian aid worker Alexis Prem Kumar in Afghanistan is safe and India is confident of getting him rescued unharmed soon, according to a top Indian diplomat.

“It’s unfortunate that we have not been able to get him released. We have been tracking him and we have been told that he is with his abductors but he is safe. We are working with Afghan agencies to get him released unharmed,” Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha said.

Sinha said he is in touch with the Afghan authorities on the issue and indicated that Alex, who hails from Tamil Nadu, was somewhere close to the Herat province where he was abducted by the gunmen early this month.

He refused to divulge further details, saying it was a sensitive matter but expressed hope of his coming out of the captivity of the abductors in a few days.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal intervention in securing the release of Kumar, who was working with an educational charity the Jesuit Refugee Service as its Afghanistan director for over three years.

In the wake of unfortunate sequence of events that included an attack on Indian Consulate in Herat recently, security measure have been strengthened in Afghanistan to protect Indian assets in the war torn country.

Sinha said Lashkar-e-Taiba was behind the attack. “Local agencies have conveyed to us which was confirmed to them by international agencies that the attack was the handiwork of LeT who have also been involved in attacks on our Embassy in the past. We are alert and aware of their plan and increased security in terms of procedure on deployment and coordination with the local agencies,” he said.

“Three months ago, we enhanced manpower for Kabul and other consulates. Director-General Indo-Tibetan Border Police and foreign secretary visited Afghanistan recently and we have had regular visit of security experts,” Sinha said.

Sinha also spoke about alerts received from Afghan and other agencies on militant threats. “They understand threat perception for India and take it seriously and they alert us,” he said.

He said that threat reports were coming in daily which were being tracked. “However, this does not mean that each threat is going to lead to attack. Vast majority of they are neutralised before they become lethal. There were 150 attacks around the country on the election day but the good thing was that 473 different plans of Taliban to disrupt the elections were neutralised by the agencies,” he said.

On recent media reports of terrorist groups going to Kashmir to wage war, Sinha said, “We know from which region terrorists come to Afghanistan and go to India as well.”

“Some analysts say that because lot of groups is fighting against NATO forces and once the forces are withdrawn; they would be perhaps underemployed and might be looking for a new cause or enemy.

“What we have to worry that how security situation evolves in Afghanistan because the country is going through the phase of transition, and we want Afghanistan to remain peaceful and prosperous,” he added.

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