Afghan officials said that four men pulled up to a restaurant on Saturday, one went inside, pulled out a pistol, walked up to a table where the woman was sitting with her husband, and took her from the restaurant.

Taxi driver killed

Police spotted the speeding car that was taking the woman from the scene and opened fire, but hit a nearby taxi and killed its driver.

Bashary declined to say if authorities had received a ransom demand from the abductors.

The German aid worker was taken
from a Kabul restaurant [AFP]
"We will arrest the criminals and not negotiate," he said, without elaborating for fear of compromising the search operation.

Julia Gross, a spokeswoman for Germany's foreign ministry, confirmed one of its citizens had been abducted.

"The foreign ministry's crisis team is engaged and working toward a solution in close cooperation with Afghan officials," she said in Berlin.

Ulf Baumann, a spokesman for Ora International, said the 31-year-old woman and her husband, also a German, had been working for the organisation in Kabul since September 2006.

Baumann did not disclose the name of the woman or her husband.

The female aid worker was the third German national kidnapped in less than a month. Two German engineers were seized about a month ago in the southern province of Wardak.

One of the engineers was shot shortly afterwards and Taliban captors have threatened to kill the other if Germany does not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.

Germany is involved in training Afghan security forces, has contributed some 3,000 troops to the Nato-led International Security and Assistance Force and has six Tornado reconnaissance planes helping to spot Taliban positions.