Afghan aid workers kidnapped
Four Afghans working for a French aid group have been kidnapped in northern Afghanistan, a police official said Tuesday, blaming Taliban insurgents for the abduction.
The men were travelling in Faryab province's Almar district when they were seized in an area with a known rebel presence on Monday, deputy provincial police chief Baryalai Basharyar Parwani told AFP.
"The area where they were kidnapped is an area where the Taliban have a presence, they often come out and intimidate people travelling along the road," he said, naming their employers as ACTED.
Ziggy Garewal, the aid group's country director, said it was still unclear who kidnapped the four hygiene workers, snatched as they returned from a training programme in a village about four kilometres (two miles) from their base.
"We don't know if it's Taliban or a local issue," she told AFP.
Four local staff were held hostage for three weeks elsewhere in Faryab last year before being released in what was a local dispute.
ACTED has been working in the province for about nine years and has 300 staff working on a variety of development and emergency programmes, Garewal said.
The Taliban could not be reached for comment but have in the past abducted foreign aid workers and their Afghan colleagues. The insurgent group has been fighting against US-led troops since 2001.
There are about 4,000 French troops deployed in Afghanistan, mainly in Kabul and Kapisa provinces, as part of the US-led NATO mission.
© 2011 AFP