MI man who set up Kabul mission dies

Brig G K B Nair, an ace Military Intelligence (MI) officer who set up India's diplomatic mission and network in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001, passed away after a massive heart attack in Chennai on Monday.

Nair, popularly known in Kabul as 'KGB', was an old Afghanistan hand and had deep connections with the Northern Alliance and other power groups in the nation during his tenure as a MI operative. He was also believed to be close to Ahmad Shah Masood, the 'Lion of Panjshir' who was killed two days before the 9/11 attacks.

The officer, who retired in 2007 due to health reasons, was hand picked by the government after the fall of the Taliban to establish an Indian mission and network there.

Sources close to him recall that he was pulled out of the National Defence College where he was undergoing a course, to be posted in Kabul after the Taliban's fall. The embassy had been shut since September 1996 after the Taliban took over Kabul.

Nair went on the serve for an unprecedented five years as the Indian Defence Attache in Kabul. It was during his tenure that India re-established its network of consulates and developmental missions across the nation.

However, his health deteriorated in Afghanistan where he suffered a heart attack, following which he was posted back to New Delhi in 2006. While he had been approved for the next rank of Maj Gen, Nair could never pick it up as he was downgraded medically.

Nair retired from service in 2007 but had since remained active in Afghanistan and other developing areas as part of a reconstruction firm that specialised in conflict-ridden nations.

He was on work to Chennai when he suffered the fatal heart attack.

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