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Two French Aid Workers, Afghan Staffers Missing in Afghanistan


French and Afghan officials say two French aid workers and three Afghan members of their staff are missing in Afghanistan.

A man claiming to be a Taleban spokesman said the group had kidnapped the five. The claim has not been verified.

Nimroz Province Police Chief, Daud Askaryar said the group was last seen traveling Tuesday toward Farah province in the west.

The workers, a French man and woman, are employed by the aid organization Terre d'enfance (Children's Land) which focuses on education and other projects for children in southwest Afghanistan, near the border with Iran.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Denis Simonneau said officials are following the matter closely.

The disappearances come one month after the kidnapping of an Italian reporter and two Afghan colleagues by the Taleban.

Daniele Mastrogiacomo was abducted in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province in early March.

In a deal that was widely criticized by western nations, he was freed in exchange for the release of five Taleban prisoners. His Afghan driver was beheaded by the kidnappers. His Afghan interpreter, Ajmal Nashqbandi is still being held.

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