News / Asia

British Woman, 3 Afghans Kidnapped in Afghanistan

Diaa Bekheet

Afghan police and media say a British woman and her three Afghan colleagues have been kidnapped by armed men in eastern Afghanistan.

Officials say the four employees of a U.S. civilian contractor were ambushed Sunday as they traveled in two vehicles in Kunar province, where they were visiting a project. Afghan officials say they have begun a search to find the hostages.

The British Foreign Office confirmed that a British citizen is missing in Afghanistan and said it is working with international agencies to investigate. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the kidnapping.

In another development, NATO said it carried out air strikes Friday against insurgents who tried to attack an Afghan security post in the eastern province of Khost.  It said NATO aircraft killed more than 30 insurgents Friday and several more Saturday.

NATO said Afghan and coalition troops also killed nine insurgents in fighting Friday and Saturday -- five in the southern province of Kandahar and four in the northern province of Takhar.

The alliance said a bomb blast killed two of its soldiers in southern Afghanistan Sunday. The attack raised the number of foreign troops killed in Afghanistan this year to more than 530.

Elsewhere, NATO said its troops shot and killed two Afghan civilians on a motorcycle Saturday as the vehicle approached a coalition security barrier in southern Afghanistan at high speed.

NATO said the Afghans accelerated toward the barrier in Helmand province, ignoring several verbal and visual warnings from the coalition forces. It said initial reports suggest the troops acted appropriately in opening fire after perceiving the motorcycle to be a threat.

NATO said it does not target civilians. Afghan officials have criticized U.S.-led forces for killing civilians in battles with the Taliban and other insurgents, saying such incidents erode public support for the NATO-backed Afghan government.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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