NELLORE: Hundreds of Indians are still reportedly stranded in Afghanistan and the State government is making efforts to bring back Andhra Pradesh workers from the strife-torn country. As the news on violent acts of the Taliban are trickling in, Gone Varadaiah, a worker from Nellore district, who was abducted by the Taliban way back in 2003, recalled his 18-day ordeal.
Varadaiah, 48, hails from Vavveru in Buchireddypalem mandal in Nellore district. Varadaiah and Pemmasani Murali, both construction workers for B Seenaiah & Company, were kidnapped by gunmen on December 6, 2003 and released on December 24, 2003.
The duo had gone in a vehicle to drop a few Afghan co-workers at their village near Bazargan in Zabul province when they were abducted. The duo were workers in the BSCPL company, which got a contract in Afghanistan.
“On that day, the company halted work due to extreme cold conditions at 11 am. We, along with other local labourers, started to Sajjay, a town close to the construction camp, for making phone calls to our native places. Local labourers were dropped midway. We heard an explosion sound when the vehicle was close to the town. Immediately we tried to return. Suddenly, a group of eight people with weapons rushed into our vehicle and beat up the driver. They dragged him out of the vehicle,’’ recalled Varadaiah.
“After a one-hour journey, the gunmen shifted us to a Taliban camp. Armed with guns and rifles, they looked terrible. They have given us no chance to speak. They gave us bread and meat after one day. They asked us to give the contact number of our Prime Minister and the working company. When we replied that we do not have the number of the Prime Minister, one of the Taliban members beat us up with his gun. We have given our company number to them. After a few days, they handed us over to another group which demanded Rs 60 lakh for each person from the company,” said Varadaiah.
“Now, everyone is discussing the terrible actions of the Taliban. We witnessed their actions in their camp during those days. They have killed two persons in front of us without any reason,’’ he recounted the horror. “Even now, fear grips me whenever I watch the Taliban on television,” he added.
Now, Varadaiah has been doing menial jobs in Buchireddypalem, but he is happy that he is with his family. He thanked the then Government of India for rescuing them on time from the clutches of the Taliban.