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Taliban Claims US Sailor Captured in Afghanistan

The top U.S. military officer says U.S. forces in Afghanistan are making "a tremendous effort" to find two sailors who disappeared south of the Afghan capital on Friday.

U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen spoke at a news conference in Kabul Sunday as the Taliban said it had killed one of the U.S. service members and taken the other prisoner.

A Taliban spokesman said the pair had entered an insurgent-controlled area, sparking a gun battle in which one of the Americans was killed.

The Associated Press reported Sunday that the Taliban has offered to exchange the American's body for insurgent prisoners.

The two U.S. Navy personnel left their Kabul City compound Friday. Afghan officials said the pair were seen driving an armored vehicle into the insurgent-controlled Charkh district.

Local radio stations reported the United States was offering to pay $20,000 for information leading to the American's release. Admiral Mullen said he was not aware that any reward was being offered.

Only one U.S. service member is known to have been captured by Afghan insurgents in recent years. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared in June last year after leaving his base in Paktika province with three Afghans. He has since appeared in videos posted on Taliban websites.

Meanwhile, an Afghan road official tells VOA that three Bangladeshi road workers, kidnapped in northern Samangan province, were released late Saturday following an operation by the Afghan police and army.

The three Bangladeshis work for a South Korean construction company and were driving to a building site when they were kidnapped with two Afghan coworkers on Thursday. There is no word on the fate of the two Afghan employees.

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