Kabul: The United Nations said five of its Afghan employees were missing on Friday amid reports their vehicles were hijacked in the same northern province where fierce fighting killed four German soldiers and three Afghan police the previous day.
Word of the UN workers` disappearance in Baghlan province followed twin bombings on Thursday targeting foreign companies in the southern city of Kandahar that killed at least three people.
A Baghlan police official said the UN employees had been kidnapped by Taliban insurgents. Dan McNorton, a spokesman for the world body in Kabul, said only that the five Afghans, who worked for the UN Office for Project Services, were missing.
"The UN is working with the Afghan authorities to ascertain their current whereabouts and the exact circumstances of the situation," McNorton said.
Baghlan`s deputy police chief, Zalmay Mangal, said Taliban operatives hijacked the workers` vehicles on Thursday and the UN employees were being held in Dahana-i-Ghori district of Baghlan province. Afghan police have asked tribal elders in the area to help ensure the workers` safety, he said.
Baghlan, about 120 miles (190 kilometres) north of the capital, was the site of intense fighting on Thursday between international forces and Taliban militants. The German soldiers were killed when a rocket slammed into their Eagle armoured vehicle, the German Defence Ministry said. Five other German soldiers were wounded.
It was the biggest single-day loss of life suffered by the Germans since June 2003, when four soldiers were killed and 29 wounded in a bombing near Kabul airport.