Afghan Officials: Two Iranian Businessmen Believed Kidnapped in Afghanistan

A04852732.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Two Iranian nationals missing in western Afghanistan for several days are believed to have been kidnapped, Afghan officials said Saturday.

The two, working for an Iranian construction company, went missing on Thursday while they were travelling from the western city of Herat to Islam Qala on the border with Iran, the officials said.

“They have been abducted,” Herat city police spokesman Noor Khan Nikzad told AFP.

However there had been no word from any abductors, including demands for ransom, and it was unclear who had taken the men, he said.

Police would meet tribal elders from the area to try to identify who might have snatched them, Nikzad said.

But the foreign ministry cast doubt on the abduction theory.

“They have disappeared and we don’t know if they have been abducted,” ministry spokesman Sultan Ahmad Baheen told AFP.

There has been a spike in kidnappings in Afghanistan this year, notably in Kabul and Herat. Some have been carried out by extremist Taliban insurgents but criminal gangs seeking ransom are also involved.

Authorities last week rescued a German-Afghan businessman kidnapped in Kabul two weeks earlier by captors who had been demanding millions of dollars in ransom.

Two Turks working for a road construction company were held in Herat for a week last month. Afghan police said they were freed after a ransom was paid but this was not confirmed by Turkish officials.


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