Bodies of two missing Germans found in Afghanistan

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 05, 2011 5:23 AM
Bodies of two missing Germans found in Afghanistan

PARWAN, Afghanistan (Reuters) - The bodies of two German citizens who went missing in a province north of Kabul last month were found on Monday, the provincial governor said.

"The bodies were found today in an open area and they appeared to have been killed by gunshots," Parwan provincial governor Baseer Salangi told Reuters.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in late August that two German citizens were missing in Afghanistan and may have been kidnapped.

Westerwelle declined to give any details about their identity. Afghan officials said at the time they had been exploring the region.

Kidnapping is a lucrative business in impoverished Afghanistan and scores of locals and foreigners have been abducted by criminals with financial motives and by Taliban-linked insurgents in recent years.

Salangi said the bodies were found in a desert frequented by Kuchi nomads, and he suspected they were involved in the killings.

He did not say how the authorities had identified the victims to be Germans.

Violence has risen to its worst levels in Afghanistan since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government and the insurgency has now spread to the once peaceful north, in addition to the south and east.

Germany has around 5,200 soldiers deployed as part of NATO's mission in Afghanistan, most of them in the north.

(Reporting by Ahmad Qiam; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison and Yoko Nishikawa)