US woman aid worker abducted in Afghanistan
Kandahar, January 26, 2008
Gunmen abducted a 49-year-old US woman on Saturday who was working for an aid group in Afghanistan's southern province of Kandahar, the provincial governor said.
The woman, who was not identified, was clad in a traditional burqa when she was seized from her car while on the way to her office, Assadullah Khalid told reporters.
"This happened this morning when she was being driven to her office. Her driver is kidnapped too," Khalid said.
The woman has lived for years in Kandahar, part of the main bastion of Taliban insurgents, and was working in an aid group linked to the agricultural sector, he said.
When asked who the abductors could be, Khalid said only "gunmen". He said a search for her was under way. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
In the past, criminal gangs and Taliban have kidnapped a number of foreigners and Afghans. Only a handful of foreigners have been killed. The rest have been freed after ransom was paid or a deal agreed with the Taliban, who were ousted from power in 2001.
The Al Qaeda-backed Taliban are largely active in southern and eastern areas and have vowed to kill nationals of those countries whose troops serve under Nato and the US military's command in the country.
Since the militants' ouster, the biggest abduction by the Taliban was of 23 South Koreans in Ghazni to the southwest of Kabul last year. The Taliban killed two of the hostages before freeing the rest in an apparent deal with Seoul.-Reuters