KABUL, Afghanistan, June 3 (UPI) -- Father Alexis Prem Kumar, a Jesuit priest, was abducted in western Afghanistan on Monday afternoon.
The 47-year-old director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Afghanistan was taken by unidentified assailants during a visit to a JRS-supported school in Sodhadat village, 15 miles outside the city of Herat.
JRS International Director Peter Balleis, S.J., issued a statement in response to his brother priest and colleague's abduction.
"We are deeply shocked by Prem's abduction. We are in contact with all the relevant authorities and doing everything possible to ensure his safe and speedy return. Meanwhile, our prayers are with Prem and his family and friends at this difficult time."
Fr. Prem Kumar, an Indian national, moved to Afghanistan in 2008 to help returning Afghans -- who had fled to Iran and Pakistan -- reintegrate by providing them with education and healthcare in Bamiyan, Kabul, and Herat.
Prior to his work in Afghanistan, Fr. Prem Kumar worked with JRS in Sri Lanka.
JRS said that it will not comment further on the abduction "In order to facilitate the rapid and safe return of Prem Kumar."