French aid staff 'held by Taliban'

Afghan troops fail to locate the aid workers and call offf the search operation.

    The two French went missing last Tuesday [AFP]

    The Taliban militia, who have mounted a bloody insurgency since they were forced out of government by US-led forces in 2001, claimed late on Wednesday to have captured the five.

     

    Search abandoned

      

    The governor said a search operation by about 200 security officials for the missing people in Khad Rod district had been called off Saturday after the troops failed to locate them.

     

    "Most of our troops have returned and the operation has been called off. We conducted a very massive operation including searching suspected houses but we couldn't find them in the area," he said.

      

    Helmand province, where the intelligence reports say the hostages have been moved to, is a Taliban stronghold where the rebels hold several districts.

      

    An Italian journalist was kidnapped March 5 by the Taliban in Helmand province, which adjoins Nimroz.

      

    Daniele Mastrogiacomo was released two weeks later in a controversial deal.

      

    The Taliban are still holding Mastrogiacomo's translator, Afghan reporter Ajmal Naqshbandi, and have demanded the release of two more Taliban in exchange for his freedom. The rebels beheaded a driver captured with them.

     

    The rebels are also holding five Afghan medics they kidnapped on March 27 in the southern province of Kandahar.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.