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

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.