NDTV Correspondent, Saturday, April 29, 2006 (Kandahar):
Taliban militants have ordered Indians in Afghanistan to start leaving the country or they would kill their Indian hostage.
A statement from Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said an individual claiming to be a Taliban spokesman demanded India order its citizens out of Afghanistan by 6:00 pm on Sunday.
It said, the message delivered to an international news agency warned the hostage would be killed if the demand is not met.
Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, who makes statements regularly on behalf of the Taliban reportedly said the Indian being held is an American spy.
A Suryanarayana from Hyderabad and his Afghan driver were seized at gunpoint on Kandahar-Kabul highway in southern Kandahar.
The wife and children of Suryanarayana who sought help from Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajashekara Reddy, have threatened to commit suicide if he was not freed.
India sends negotiators
A Foreign Ministry team headed by Joint Secretary KBS Katoch is set to leave for Afghanistan to deal with the situation.
The regional passport officer Bala Basker in Hyderabad revealed, "Mr Suryanarayana had security up to a given point but we are given to understand that he left his security and moved into an area beyond the zone with an Afghan driver".
Suryanarayana who trained as a robotics specialist in Australia was employed by Bahrain based company Al Mayyad engaged in telecom and construction business in Afghanistan.
This is the third incident targeting an Indian in Afghanistan in the last few months.
Four months ago, Maniappan R Kutty, a jawan of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) was abducted and killed by the Taliban.
In February, a bomb blast in Farah province killed Indian engineer Bharath Kumar working with a Turkish firm.
Indian doctors at hospitals in Afghanistan also receive threats from Taliban.
Security for Indians in Afghanistan was discussed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai when he visited Delhi recently. (With PTI inputs)