May 21, 2017
ISLAMABAD — Unknown gunmen have killed a German aid worker and her Afghan security guard in Kabul before kidnapping a Finnish woman who worked for an aid organization.
A Finnish Foreign Ministry spokesperson is reported to have confirmed a Finn has been taken hostage, and that there is no information yet on the kidnappers.
There has been no claim of responsibility.
The overnight violence took place outside a guesthouse on the Darulaman road of the capital city, housing staff of the Swedish charity Operation Mercy, according to the Afghan Interior Ministry.
Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said a third foreigner was rescued and an investigation into the incident is under way.
Incidents of kidnapping for ransom in Kabul have long posed a challenge for Afghan authorities and have discouraged foreign nationals from moving freely in the city.
Separately, Taliban insurgents have killed 20 Afghan police personnel and wounded at least a dozen more in the volatile southern province of Zabul.
Provincial Governor Bismillah Afghanmal told VOA the casualties occurred late Saturday after insurgents attacked security outposts in the Shajoy district. He added that assailants also suffered major casualties but gave no figures.
The governor said fighting was still raging in the area. Security officials have confirmed to VOA the Taliban has overrun several outposts.
The conflict zone is located on the main highway linking Kabul with the southern city of Kandahar.
Local officials are reported to have made calls to Afghan television stations in their bid to seek attention after failing to get hold of senior authorities for help.
A Taliban spokesman, while claiming responsibility for killing Afghan forces and capturing outposts, said its fighters are currently attacking more than a dozen “enemy” posts in the area to try to capture them.
The Islamist insurgency has ramped up its so-called spring offensive across Afghanistan in a bid to extend its territorial control. The Taliban controls or influences nearly 50 of 407 Afghan districts.
The fighting comes as U.S. President Donald Trump is considering whether to send additional troops to the embattled country to strengthen NATO’s existing mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces to enable them reverse insurgent gains.