'German' bodies recovered in Afghanistan
Two bodies believed to be those of the Germans who went missing last month in mountains north of Kabul were recovered and handed over to US soldiers on Tuesday, an AFP photographer said.
The bodies, wrapped in white plastic bags, arrived in a police vehicle after being taken by a team of Afghan security forces from a hard-to-reach area three hours' walk from the main road linking the capital with the mountainous north.
The recovery team has said the pair were the German couple, who went missing near the Salang Pass in August after setting out to go climbing in the famous Hindu Kush range around 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Kabul.
But they have not been formally identified.
An AFP photographer saw one of the bodies briefly when a US soldier opened the bags before they were loaded into the back of a military vehicle and departed the area, about two kilometres from the Salang tunnel.
The bodies seemed to be those of Westerners and blood was visible, he noted.
The photographer could not distinguish any particular injury, but an Afghan policeman said the bodies bore bullet wounds -- one body with a wound in the chest and the other with a wound in the head.
It was not clear where the bodies were being taken, but the American military vehicles came from the US base at Bagram, located about 50 miles north of Kabul, according to the photographer.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in Berlin late Tuesday an examination of the bodies had led officials to believe "with a likelihood bordering on certitude" that the two were the missing Germans.
German media identified the pair as Siegbert S., 69, and Willi E., 59, and said they were members of an aid group who had been kidnapped to be robbed and not for political reasons.
An Afghan interior ministry spokesman and the chief of police in Parwan have declined to comment on the identity of the bodies, which were found in a remote mountainous area around 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Kabul.
No group has claimed responsibility for kidnapping the pair but dozens of foreigners have been taken captive in warring Afghanistan in recent years, with most released unharmed, often after the payment of a ransom.
© 2011 AFP