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April 23, 2013

Police: Taliban Kidnap 9 De-miners in S. Afghanistan

by VOA News

Afghan police say they believe the Taliban abducted nine members of a group working to remove deadly mines in southern Afghanistan.

Kandahar provincial police spokesman Ghorzang Afridi says the de-mining workers were taken from the Loy Kariz area of Maiwand district on Monday, reportedly as they were on their way back from work.  He said the workers had not informed police that they were operating in that area.

No group has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, but it is a common tactic used by the Taliban, especially in their traditional stronghold of Kandahar province.  Local reports also say tribal elders are working to secure the abductees' release.

A day earlier, authorities blamed the Taliban for seizing a group of at least 10 civilians in eastern Afghanistan after their helicopter made an emergency landing.

The governor of Logar province, Arsla Jamal, said in an interview with VOA Tuesday that they still do not know where the eight Turks, one Russian and at least one Afghan are being held.  He also said that since the area they were taken from is very close to Pakistan, authorities do not rule out the possibility that militants could have shifted them across the porous border.

The helicopter landed late Sunday during bad weather about 30 kilometers from the Pakistani border.  It had been traveling from Khost to the Afghan capital, Kabul.