Herat (Afghanistan): Seven deminers
kidnapped in western Afghanistan have been beheaded by their
abductors, police said today, as NATO announced the deaths of
three soldiers in Taliban attacks.
The seven were part of a group of 28 deminers who were
snatched on Wednesday in a district that is the focus of the
Taliban insurgency in Farah province, but no one has claimed
responsibility for the mass kidnapping.
"Seven of the deminers are beheaded. We have recovered
the body of one of them and the rest of the bodies are with
tribal elders," said Mohammad Ghaws Malyar, the Farah
provincial deputy police chief.
He said the fate of the other deminers who were taken
in the Bala Buluk district was unknown.
Criminal groups and insurgents have repeatedly
kidnapped dozens of Afghans and foreigners since a 2001 US-led
invasion ousted the Taliban regime, but most are eventually
freed for ransom or in exchange for the release of prisoners.
The deminers were working for the Demining Agency for
Afghanistan, an Afghan charity based in the southern province
In a similar incident in December, 18 Afghans working
for the Mine Detection Center were kidnapped in the eastern
province of Khost, which borders Pakistan, and were freed
unharmed a day later in a joint Afghan-foreign operation.
Also today, three NATO soldiers and three policemen
were killed in bomb and insurgent attacks in the restive south
and east, as the top US commander in the country said the
overall number of insurgent attacks had decreased this summer.
NATO said one coalition soldier died following an
insurgent attack and another was killed in a bomb explosion in
the south, while a third service member died after another
insurgent attack in the east.