Six Indians were reportedly abducted by unidentified armed men in Afghanistan’s Baghlan province on Sunday. The kidnapped Indians are staffers of KEC International ltd, an infrastructure company which recently got a Rs 226-crore contract in the conflict-torn country. It is also reported that an Afghan national is also amongst the Indians abducted by unidentified persons.
The incident adds to the list of recent instances when Indian nationals have been abducted abroad, especially in conflict ridden conditions such as Islamic State militancy in Iraq or the war in Yemen. Here’s a brief compilation of such incidents in recent times:
39 Indians abducted and killed by Islamic State in Iraq’s Mosul (2014)
Families of the deceased men got to know about their captivity in June 2014. The Ministry of External Affairs was notified by the sister of one of the 40 men who wrote to Sushma Swaraj asking for help. A week later, the lone survivor Harjit Masih got in touch with the Indian authorities in Erbil and informs them that all other captives have been killed by Islamic State. Despite this, a great deal of speculation prevailed over the status of the abducted Indians.
The Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, on July 28 had assured the protesting family members at Jantar Mantar that ‘India is pinning hopes on an “Eid gift” from IS at the end of Ramadan.’ Later, Swaraj claimed that the men were “safe and (were) being kept in a factory that manufactures garments in Mosul”, and would be released after the arrival of a certain Islamic state commander.
Finally, providing a timeline of the events, the External Minister said, “As many as 40 Indians along with some Bangladeshis were abducted by the terrorist organisation ISIS three years ago. But one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh and the remaining 39 Indians were taken to Badoosh and killed later.”
46 nurses abducted by Islamic State in Tikrit, Iraq (2014)
In yet another instance of Islamic State’s abduction of Indian nationals in Iraq, 46 Indian nurses were abducted in Iraq during the same period as that of the abduction of 40 men in Mosul. The nurses were eventually rescued from the Iraqi city of Tikrit. At least 22 of them have flown back to work in hospitals in safer parts of the Middle East. Held hostage in a hospital at Tikrit in June 2014, the nurses were rescued and brought back to families in the first week of July, 2018.
Father Tom Uzhunnalil’s abduction in Yemen (2017)
Tom Uzhunnalil was abducted by ISIS militants in the aftermath of an attack on an old-age home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in the southern Yemeni city of Aden. Uzhunnalil was rescued after 17 months of captivity on September 12, 2017. The priest was reportedly liberated after Oman’s foreign ministry intervened and facilitated the release of Uzhunnalil.
Father Alexis Prem Kumar’s abduction in Herat, Afghanistan (2015)
The priest was abducted on June 4, 2014, from Sohadat village, 25 km from Herat. He was working with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), an educational charity, as its Afghanistan Director and had been in the country for more than three years. The matter was brought to the notice of then Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani by Indian National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, when the latter visited the country on October 22, 2014.