KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, AP – Police found an Indian hostage’s beheaded body in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, officials said. Taliban militants said they shot the hostage dead as he tried to escape.
An Afghan highway police patrol found K. Suryanarayana’s decapitated body in a field near the highway where the telecommunications engineer was abducted Friday in Zabul province, said the provincial police chief, Ghulam Nabi Malakhail.
The leaders of Afghanistan and India condemned the killing, the second of an Indian hostage in southern Afghanistan within the past six months.
“The death of the Indian engineer who was working for the construction and reconstruction of Afghanistan is no doubt the work of enemies of Afghanistan,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in a statement.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed his condolences to Suryanarayana’s family and urged his country “to remain unified in the face of this terrorism.”
Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, who releases regular statements on behalf of outlawed Taliban fighters, said militants shot the Indian after he tried to escape and fought with his captors.
Ahmadi issued a threat a day earlier saying all Indians must leave Afghanistan by 6 p.m. Sunday or Suryanarayana would be executed.
The Taliban spokesman said the group was holding Suryanarayana’s Afghan driver and would release him soon.
Suryanarayana’s wife, Manjula, collapsed on seeing reports of the body’s discovery, while her three children and dozens of well-wishers wailed and cried, many of them clutching pictures of the missing engineer.
“He is the only son of his old parents. He has not done any harm to anybody,” Manjula said at her home in Indian city of Hyderabad.
Suryanarayana, aged in his early 40s, had been employed in Afghanistan since January by a Bahrain-based company, al-Moayed. The company has been contracted by an Afghan mobile phone company, Roshan, to expand its mobile phone network across volatile provinces in southern Afghanistan.
Afghans expressed outrage at his killing.
“Islam does not say to kill human beings because we are all brothers,” said Afghan army Maj. Pir Mohammed, 42. “Be sure that God will send the killers to hell.”
His kidnapping is the first since four Macedonians of Albanian descent were kidnapped and killed in March, purportedly by Taliban militants.
The Taliban abducted and killed another Indian in November. Truck driver Maniappan Raman Kutty’s almost decapitated body was dumped in another volatile southern province, Nimroz.