German woman abducted in Kabul

Updated: 2007-08-19 10:13

KABUL - A German woman was kidnapped Saturday in the Afghan capital Kabul by unidentified armed men, according to interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary.

Afghan policemen stand guard outside the restaurant from where a German woman aid worker was kidnapped in Kabul August 18, 2007. The woman was seized as she was walking on a street in the southwestern part of Kabul, where some aid groups have offices, spokesman Zemarai Bashary said. [Xinhua] 

"Today at 1:30 in the afternoon (0900 GMT), a German woman was abducted by unknown armed men in an alley," Bashary said.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident, he said.

Bashary could not immediately confirm where the abducted woman worked, and gave no further details.

The German embassy in Kabul was unable to immediately confirm the incident. In Berlin, the German foreign ministry said it could not immediately comment on the report.

The kidnapping comes as the Afghan authorities are struggling with two other hostage crises, both of which concern the extremist Taliban militia.

The Taliban are holding 19 South Koreans and, separately, a 62-year-old German engineer, demanding the release of jailed operatives in return for their freedom.

The area of Kabul where Bashary said the German woman was abducted is near parliament, Kabul University, the offices of several non-governmental organisations and most businesses in the Afghan capital.

A 12-year-old boy who witnessed the abduction, Abdul Musawir, said he saw a woman being forced into a vehicle as she crossed a road.

"A foreign man and woman were crossing the road. A vehicle slowed down and forced the woman into the car," the boy said.

Deputy Kabul police chief general Zalmai Oriakhail said the couple were husband and wife.

"They managed to force the woman into their vehicle, but they have failed to kidnap the husband," said Oriakhail, adding that police had cordoned off the area and were searching for the kidnappers.

"Inshallah (god willing) we will locate and find them. We have launched a massive search operation in the area," he said.

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