Taliban demands two million dollars in return of kidnapped Greek engineer

      The Taliban has demanded a ransom of two million dollars and release of three of its Afghan leaders in return for a safe release of kidnapped Greek engineer Athanasius Lerounis. Former union council nazim Abdul Majid, who led a delegation to Afghanistan's Nooristan province for negotiations with the Taliban told media persons about the conditions set by the extremists for Lerounis's safe return. In his letter dated September 19, Lerounis said he was fine and thanked all those who were trying to sort out issues with the Taliban to ensure his safe return. "Now I am living with a group of Taliban. They are very hospitable and try their best for my life and security. The behaviour of Taliban to me is very good. I would like to thank all those people who are trying their best to solve my problem, especially Mr Majid and Mr Nasir who came to Nooristan to visit me and try to solve the problem," Lerounis said. Lerounis, who has been actively engaged in carrying out development work in the Kalash region since 1994, was kidnapped from the Bumburate valley on September 8, The News reported. It may be noted that the Kalash community had recently threatened to leave Pakistan if the government fails to take substantial action against Lerounis's kidnappers. The community has demanded deployment of troops in the areas of Bumburate, Birir and Rambore.

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