Gunmen abduct French aid worker in Kabul (Lead)

November 3rd, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, Nov 3 (DPA) A group of unknown gunmen abducted a French aid worker Monday in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and shot dead an Afghan driver who tried to rescue him, the police said.The Frenchman was kidnapped as he was walking to his office with a colleague, said Zemarai Bashary, an interior ministry spokesman.

The two men were on foot in the Kart-e-Parwan neighbourhood when three gunmen snatched the Frenchman and took him to an unknown location by car, said a senior police official who requested anonymity.

“An Afghan driver for the intelligence service who tried to stop the abduction was killed by the kidnappers,” the official said.

He said that as the Afghan driver scuffled with the abductors, the other aid worker escaped.

The official said a search operation involving hundreds of police was being conducted in Kabul and all roads linking the city to neighbouring provinces had been closed by security forces.

The kidnapping came amid mounting concerns among international aid workers in Kabul regarding their safety. Kabul, which houses thousands of international troops and has streets packed with thousands of Afghan police and army forces, has seen a spate of terrorist incidents recently.

An aid worker with South African and British citizenship working with an organisation helping disabled people was shot dead as she was walking to work in the western part of Kabul late last month.

Days later, a Britain and a South African working with an international courier service were killed when their security guard opened fire on their vehicle in the centre of the city. The cause of the attack was not known, but Afghan police officials did not rule out terrorists being behind the attack.

On Thursday, a suicide bomber attacked the ministry of information and culture, killing himself and five ministry workers. Two other militants who were accompanying the bomber escaped after shooting guards at the ministry’s front gate.

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