Former Afghan presidential candidate rescued from kidnappers

October 26th, 2008 - 11:25 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanKabul, Oct 26 (DPA) Security forces freed a former presidential candidate and a son of a banker from the hands of their captors in the eastern part of the Afghan capital, officials said Sunday.Acting on a tip-off, joint Afghan police and intelligence forces rescued both the hostages from a safe-house in the Tarakhel area of the capital, said Afghan intelligence service spokesman Sayed Ansari.

“Today (Sunday) our forces freed Humayun Shah Asifi and Abdul Latif from the hands of their kidnappers,” Ansari said, but declined to provide further details.

Kabul police chief General Ayoub Salangi said the kidnappers had been followed for several days until agents were able to locate the whereabouts of the hostages.

He said six kidnappers were also arrested in the joint operation.

Asifi is the brother-in-law of Afghanistan’s former king who died last year, while Latif is the son of a director for a private bank in Kabul.

Asifi, 63, returned to Afghanistan after several years in exile after the fall of the Taliban regime. He was one of 18 candidates during the presidential election in 2004, but lost to incumbent President Hamid Karzai.

Officials said there were no political motives behind the kidnappings.

Organised criminal gangs have been behind a spate of kidnappings in the country, and victims are often tortured, before ransoms are paid.

Most kidnappings are not reported. Some are suspected of being carried out by groups linked to high government officials, and many victims choose not to inform the media or police after regaining their freedom.

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