Suspected Taliban militants abduct four Afghan aid workers; 'al-Qaida' suspect caught

Monday, November 6th 2006, 8:49 am
By: News On 6

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Suspected Taliban militants kidnapped four Afghan aid workers in eastern Afghanistan, while U.S.-led and Afghan troops detained six suspected extremists Monday, including one described as a ``known al-Qaida terrorist,'' officials said.

The four aid workers, employed by the International Organization for Migration, were abducted on Sunday in Zormat district of the eastern Paktia province, said Gen. Abdul Anan Raufi, the provincial police chief.

The workers were on their way to visit a newly built school in the area, he said.

``There were no demands from the kidnappers so far, but the elders in the area are involved in negotiating their release,'' Raufi said.

Officials at the International Organization for Migration couldn't be reached for comment. Aleem Sidique, the U.N. spokesman in Afghanistan, said the matter was ``of concern for us and the Afghan government.''

``While police are conducting an investigation, we are monitoring the situation very closely,'' he said.

U.S.-led troops, meanwhile, detained ``a known al-Qaida terrorist and five other extremists'' during an operation near the eastern city of Khost on Monday, a U.S. military statement said.

No shots were fired, and nobody was harmed during the operation, it said.

The military did not provide details on those arrested. It only said that one of them ``has known ties to al-Qaida leadership.''

Troops discovered grenades, military equipment, armor-piercing rounds and assault rifles during the search of the compound where they detained the men, the statement said.

In the country's south, Taliban fighters ambushed a police patrol, killing one policeman and wounding two, said Zabul highway police commander Jailani Khan. He said one Taliban fighter was killed in an ensuing fight.

In nearby Helmand province, Afghan and NATO forces carried out an operation against Taliban fighters, killing two, said Ghulam Nabi Malkhial, the provincial police chief.