U.S. airstrikes to affect efforts to free Indians

U.S. airstrikes complicate matters for rescuing hostages

August 09, 2014 01:50 am | Updated May 23, 2016 04:35 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The U.S. decision to begin airstrikes on ISIS-controlled parts of Iraq is likely to have repercussions for Indians still stuck inside the country and will hamper efforts to free the 41 Indian men being held captive in Mosul.

According to a source acquainted with the government’s negotiations with the group holding the Indians hostage, the U.S. move is going to “complicate our efforts, no doubt about it”.

The U.S. airstrikes on ISIS-controlled parts of Iraq is going to “complicate our efforts, no doubt about it” to rescue Indians hostages, a source acquainted with the government’s negotiations with the group holding the Indians hostage said.

“To begin with, the strikes could endanger the lives of the men. Moreover, Indian officials have been conducting negotiations through some people on the ground. They would no longer be able to move around freely. And even if the men are freed, it would be very difficult to get them out of areas under target of the U.S. bombing and the fighting,” the source said.

Before leaving for Myanmar, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke to the families of those being held in Mosul and assured them that they were safe.

Gurpinder Kaur, sister of stranded Indian Manjinder Singh from Bhoewal village in Amritsar district, told The Hindu that on hearing the news of the bombing, she contacted Ms. Swaraj, who told her that as per the latest report received by her on Thursday night, the men were safe.

American warplanes on Friday dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs outside the Kurd-controlled city of Erbil, less than 90 km from Mosul, hours after U.S. President Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for targeted strikes.

More than 5,000 Indians, including nurses and construction workers, have been brought back to India by special and commercial flights from Baghdad and Erbil so far.


The biggest challenge for the government now is to bring home the 41 construction workers who have lost contact with their families for nearly two months now. Without giving details of their exact location, or the group holding them, a source told The Hindu that negotiations for their release had been “making progress” before the bombing began.

(With additional reporting by Chander Suta Dogra in Chandigarh)

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