Prem Kumar abducted while he was visiting a school in Herat province.
An Indian aid worker was Monday abducted by unidentified gunmen in Afghanistan’s Herat province, local officials and India’s foreign ministry said.
Sayed Fazlullah Wahidy, governor of Herat province, said the aid worker was kidnapped in the afternoon, adding that “police have started the search operation for him.”
India’s foreign ministry confirmed the incident, with spokesman Syed Akbaruddin posting on Twitter: “Indian national working with an NGO in Herat province of Afghanistan has been kidnapped.” The Indian mission was “pursuing the matter with local authorities,” he added.
The charity, Jesuit Refugee Service, said in an email that Prem Kumar was abducted while he was visiting a school in Sohadat village of Herat province. “He was abducted as he was about to return,” James Stapleton, the international communications coordinator of the Catholic organization, said. Kumar had been working in Afghanistan for the past four years, and held the post of country director.
The kidnapping comes close on the heels of an attack on the Indian consulate in Herat on May 23 by four heavily armed gunmen who were later repelled by security forces. The consulate assault was the latest in a long line of attacks against Indian targets in Afghanistan.
Nine civilians, including seven children, were killed in August last year when suicide bombers targeted the Indian consulate in Jalalabad, detonating an explosives-packed car. In 2008, a car bomb at the Indian embassy in Kabul killed 60 people, and the embassy was again hit by a suicide strike in 2009. And, in 2010, two guesthouses in Kabul used by Indians were attacked.