Body found dumped in a desert in southern Afghanistan on Wednesday is believed to be that of an Indian truck driver who the Taliban claim to have kidnapped and killed, police said. Villagers found the body of Maniappan Raman Kutty, which had almost been decapitated, in Nimroz province's Dilaram district, said local police chief Bahdur Khan.
"The body does not look Afghan. It looks Indian," he said. "We think it is the hostage's body."
Purported Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammed Yousaf told The Associated Press in a satellite phone call the location of the body, which matched the information from the police chief. On Tuesday, he claimed that the rebels had shot Kutty because the Indian state-owned company he worked for had not agreed to the kidnappers' demands to pull out of Afghanistan.
Yousaf often calls news organizations to claim responsibility for attacks, often with information that proves exaggerated or untrue. His exact tie to the Taliban leadership is not clear.
Kutty was kidnapped along with three Afghans in Nimroz province on Saturday. One of the Afghans has since been released, while the fate of the two other Afghans was unknown.
The abduction was the latest in a string of kidnappings in southern Afghanistan. A British engineer working on a road project and two Japanese tourists were kidnapped in August and killed.
The violence comes amid the deadliest year of rebel fighting since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001. About 1,500 people have been killed and many southern and eastern areas are considered too dangerous for foreigners to enter without security, reports the AP. I.L.