Foreign aid worker kidnapped in central Kabul

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2015 8:09 AM

KABUL (Reuters) - Armed men kidnapped a foreign aid worker, believed to be German, in downtown Kabul on Monday, the latest in a spate of attacks on foreign targets at a time of declining security in the Afghan capital.

It was not clear if militants or a criminal group were behind the kidnap, as there was no immediate claim of responsibility for the second abduction of a foreigner in recent months in Kabul, which has suffered a wave of lethal bombings.

"Right now an investigation is ongoing," said interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish, confirming the kidnapping.

Security sources said the victim worked for German development agency GIZ, which was the target of another kidnapping in north Afghanistan earlier this year.

"Right now we cannot disclose the aid worker’s name or nationality, but an operation is ongoing, and we hope it reaches a conclusion soon," said Fraidoon Obaidi, chief of the criminal investigation department of Kabul police.

GIZ and the German foreign ministry declined to comment.

Afghanistan is one of the world's most dangerous places for aid workers. Many more Afghans are kidnapped than foreigners, however, including members of the Hazara minority that is often targeted by militants.

On Saturday, the United States embassy in Kabul warned U.S. citizens in an "emergency message" that insurgents were planning more attacks, targeting several sites frequented by foreigners in the city.

In 2014, 57 aid workers were killed in Afghanistan, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan says.

(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni and Frank Jack Daniel; Additional reporting by Sabine Siebold in Berlin; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)