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Rebels abduct 4 in Afghanistan: Police

They were abducted in the remote Zurmat district of Paktia province by the Taliban, police said.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2006 18:02 IST

Two Afghan engineers employed by an international aid group, and two other Afghans working with them, have been abducted in southeastern Afghanistan, police said Monday, blaming Taliban.

Police said the engineers worked for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) but the group could not immediately confirm some of its staff were missing.

The United Nations said it was aware of the report and looking into it.

The four were abducted in the remote Zurmat district of Paktia province on Sunday afternoon, provincial police chief General Abdul Hanaan Raufi said.

"Two engineers from IOM and two other local liaison workers were abducted by Taliban on Sunday afternoon in Zurmat," said Raufi.

The missing men had not contacted police before going to the area, Raufi said, and he did not know what they were doing there.

"We have tried to win their release through negotiation via tribal elders and influentials," he said.

Several foreign and Afghan nationals working for foreign companies have been abducted in Afghanistan since the Taliban began an insurgency after being removed from government in 2001.

Some of them have been killed.

The extremist movement targets its insurgency at Afghan and foreign troops as well as UN and non-government organisation workers and government employees.

On Wednesday a 36-year-old Italian photojournalist, Gabriele Torsello, was freed after three weeks in captivity in the volatile south of the country.

His abductors had initially claimed to be from the Taliban but main spokesmen for the movement said they were not involved and reportedly even called for his release.

South and southeastern Afghanistan have been hard hit by a wave of violence linked to the Taliban.

First Published: Nov 06, 2006 18:02 IST