Afghans working for French aid group kidnapped

October 11, 2011 - 3:40 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Four Afghans working for a French development organization in northern Afghanistan have been abducted, officials said Tuesday.

The team was driving back from a training session in Faryab province Monday afternoon when they were ambushed by a man on a motorcycle and seized, said Abdul Satar Barez, the province's deputy governor. Barez said the captors were Taliban militants.

However, the country director for the organization, called ACTED, said it was still not clear if the staffers were taken by militants or because of a personal dispute. The director, Ziggy Garewal, said the three trainers and a driver were all locals. They were coming back from conducting hygiene training at a mosque when they were kidnapped, she said.

"We're not sure exactly who has them. We're still looking into that," Garewal said. She explained that while the Taliban are active in the area, it is a lawless place where many other insurgent and criminal groups also operate.

Barez said that the group could have taken more security precautions by alerting the government to their movements. Garewal said that ACTED has about 350 employees in Faryab, and that the provincial government is well aware where they work.

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Heidi Vogt contributed to this report from Kabul.