German Muslim convert kidnapped in Afghanistan
17th December 2007, The man, identified by German media as Harald Kleber, a 42-year-old carpenter from the Bavarian town of Amberg, was seized on Sunday in circumstances that remain unclear.
17th December 2007
The man, identified by German media as Harald Kleber, a 42-year-old carpenter from the Bavarian town of Amberg, was seized on Sunday in circumstances that remain unclear.
He was the fifth German kidnapped in Afghanistan this year.
The provincial police chief in Herat, Mohham Juma Azim, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) Kleber was in a car with his Afghan wife and brother-in-law when the abductors stopped it and dragged him off.
Kleber, who worked for a German relief organization called Green Helmets in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2004, owned a carpenter's workshop in Herat City and occasionally helped with aid projects.
Germany's Foreign Ministry set up a crisis team to deal with the incident.
Azim said the German, who used the name Abdul Rahman after converting to Islam, was seized when he and his wife were on their way home from a visit to his in-laws.
He speculated that family motives might have been behind the kidnapping.
He said the woman had previously been married to an Afghan, but had left him to marry the German, possibly triggering resentment in the closely knit tribal community.
In a different version of events, Green Helmets' chairman Rupert Neudeck said the victim was seized by armed men along with his wife and child while they were on their way to the village of Totechi where the German was overseeing an aid project.
The abduction comes more than two months after German engineer Rudolf Blechschmidt was released on October 10 after nearly three months in the hands of Afghan kidnappers.
Blechschmidt was seized in Maidan Wardak province on July 18 together with another German who later died in captivity.
Two other Germans seized in Afghanistan in June and August were released unharmed after brief periods of captivity.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the latest kidnapping and promised the matter would be resolved quickly.
"We will not tolerate criminal acts like this," he was quoted as saying in the mass-circulation German newspaper Bild.
The newspaper said Kleber was seized around 4 pm on Sunday by four armed men. His brother-in-law reported his disappearance to the German embassy on Monday.
On October 12, the German parliament approved a one-year extension of the mandate for 3,500 German troops stationed in northern Afghanistan.
Subject: German news