Gunmen kidnap former Afghan presidential candidate

October 20th, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Kabul, Oct 20 (DPA) A group of gunmen abducted an Afghan former presidential candidate in the capital Kabul, the police said Monday.Humayun Asifi and his two relatives were kidnapped by unknown gunmen at 11 p.m. Sunday night when he was on his way to his home in western part of Kabul city, interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said.

Bashary could not say if the kidnapping was politically motivated or was the work of criminal gangs, which have recently carried out similar abductions in the city.

A search operation and investigation were underway, he said.

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

No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Taliban militants have kidnapped several Afghan and foreign nationals in Afghanistan since the fall of their government in late 2001 in US military invasion.

Organised criminal gangs have also been behind a spate of kidnappings in the country, and victims are often subjected to torture 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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