KABUL, Dec 24: Two Indian technicians kidnapped by suspected Taliban from southeastern Afghanistan earlier this month were freed on Tuesday night.
Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali handed over the two to Indian ambassador to Kabul, Vivek Katju, at a news briefing on Wednesday.
“Mr ambassador, here are your boys,” the minister said while presenting the two visibly-tired and weak-looking workers.
Mr Murali and Mr Verdhaya, both aged 24, were kidnapped when they were returning from a shopping trip to Bazarghan village near Shahjoy on Dec 6.
Mr Jalali said the technicians were freed “unconditionally” at around 3.40am. “There had been some negotiations through tribal elders,” he added.
He denied the Indians had been kidnapped by the Taliban. “Those who had kidnapped them had no relation with the Taliban leaders. They were local people,” he said.
However, one of the two Indian workers said the “Taliban” continued to shift them from one place to another and added that at one place they kept them for two weeks. “They treated us well,” he said.
He said Ghazni Governor Saifullah Khalid and a former Mujahideen commander, Mullah Abdus Salam Rocketi, had played a key role in their release.
Mr Khalid said the kidnappers were “former local Taliban.” He identified the group leader involved in the kidnapping as Ahmadullah.