Gunmen abduct American, Australian
Five gunmen wearing Afghan military uniforms have abducted an American and an Australian in Kabul, a security official said yesterday. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction.
The two foreigners were taken from their SUV while driving on Sunday night on a main road near the American University of Afghanistan, according to Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry. They are believed to be employees of the university and were travelling between the university and their residence in the Afghan capital, he said.
Sediqqi added that initial reports say up to five armed men stopped the foreigners' vehicle. The two abducted are both men, he said. He did not reveal any more details except to say that an investigation is underway.
The United States Embassy in Kabul issued a brief statement confirming the kidnapping of an American citizen but gave no further details "due to privacy concerns."
"US Embassy security officials are working closely with Afghan law enforcement and security colleagues and AUAF to assist in the investigation into the kidnapping," it said, referring to the American University of Afghanistan.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also issued a statement confirming "the apparent kidnapping of an Australian in Kabul." No further details were released, also for privacy concerns.
"We continue to advise Australians not to travel to Afghanistan because of the extremely dangerous security situation, including the serious threat of kidnapping," it said.
Senior staff at the university in Kabul could not immediately be reached for comment. Students were sent an email from the university's Office of Student Affairs telling them the "campus will be closed tomorrow and until further notice."
Kidnappings are not uncommon in Afghanistan. Three other foreigners who were kidnapped in Kabul over the past year have all been released.