Over the last ten years, Afghanistan has been a place of risk of being kidnapped for foreigners who come to help the people in areas of economic development, building infrastructure and governance. Since the fall of Taliban in late 2001, they have turned into kidnappers, suicide bombers and hit-and-run attackers. But Taliban have not been the main abductors.
Two other principal insurgent groups and criminal elements have also been indulged in this horrible activity. The list of victims includes journalists, engineers and aid workers from different international agencies and from different countries.
Also, the victims have included both foreigners and Afghans - to our unmitigated chagrin Afghans have usually been finally killed as in the case of Ajmal Naqshbandi, an Afghan journalist and interpreter who was kidnapped along with an Italian reporter, Daniele Mastrogiacomo and an Afghan driver.
In this appalling incident, Afghan driver was beheaded at the time of abduction. Daniele Mastrogiacomo was set free after five Taliban militants were freed by Afghan government in exchange. When Afghan government refused to meet Taliban's demands for the release of their senior men from prison, the militants slew Naqshbandi senselessly.
The largest group kidnapped by the Taliban was 23 South Koreans in 2007 in Ghazni province, which ended up in withdrawal of Korean troops from Afghanistan as a part of the deal for release of the hostages.
Pakistani nationals have not been included in the list except for one case where its ambassador to Kabul, Tariq Azizuddin was abducted after traveling from Peshawar to Kabul in 2008. Furthermore, Pakistani embassy and workers in Afghanistan have not been targeted unlike other big contributors of Afghanistan, especially India whose embassy has come under attacks a couple of times.
But in a new occurrence on Wednesday, November 29, unidentified gunmen kidnapped seven Pakistani engineers in the central province of Logar. The abductees were working to build a 300-bed Naib Aminullah Khan Logari Hospital.
The incident happened in the Syed Habibullah village while the victims were returning from the site to the capital city. Provincial police Chief Ghulam Sakhi RoghLewanai has said that the driver of the engineers is under interrogation on the incident.
Unfortunately, this appalling tactic used by insurgents has had dire consequences for the construction and reconstruction projects and efforts in the country. It is hoped that these engineers are set free soon but in the meanwhile it shows that there is a need for concerted effort to root out militancy from the region because under the extremism and militancy no country is immune to becoming a target.