Germany has more than 5,000 soldiers deployed as part of NATO mission in Afghanistan [EPA]

The bodies of two German citizens who went missing in a province north of Kabul last month have been found, according to the provincial governor.

Germany has around 5,200 soldiers deployed as part of NATO's mission in Afghanistan, most of them in the north.

"The bodies were found today in an open area and they appeared to have been killed by gunshots," Baseer Salangi, the Parwan governor, told the Reuters news agency.

Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, said in late August that two German citizens were missing in Afghanistan and may have been kidnapped.

Westerwelle declined to give any details about their identity. Afghan officials said at the time they had been
exploring the region.

Salangi said the bodies were found in a desert frequented by Kuchi nomads, and he suspected they were involved in the killings.

He did not say how the authorities had identified the victims to be Germans.

Kidnapping is a lucrative business in impoverished Afghanistan and scores of locals and foreigners have been
abducted by criminals with financial motives and by Taliban-linked fighters in recent years.

Violence has risen to its worst levels in Afghanistan since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban government and now spread to the once peaceful north.

Source: Agencies