US troops stumble across American lost in Kandahar

US soldiers on patrol in one of the most dangerous battlefields of Afghanistan stumbled across an American who claimed to have fled his Taliban kidnappers, US officials said on Wednesday.

Last Updated: Oct 13, 2010, 22:16 PM IST

Kandahar: US soldiers on patrol in one of
the most dangerous battlefields of Afghanistan stumbled across
an American who claimed to have fled his Taliban kidnappers,
US officials said on Wednesday.

The 25-year-old US citizen was reported missing more than
two months ago in the war-torn country, the US embassy in
Kabul confirmed.

"In August, we were informed by friends and acquaintances
that they had lost contact with a private US citizen. We
couldn`t locate him," US embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden
told a news agency.

"On October 2, a private US citizen in southern
Afghanistan contacted US forces seeking assistance."

"The US embassy was immediately contacted and transported
the individual to Kabul. Within days, the US citizen was
returned home to the US by the embassy," said the spokeswoman.

The US embassy declined to release the man`s name or
provide any further details about the circumstances of his
disappearance.

But according to one American official in Kabul, the man
told soldiers and then diplomats that he had been held hostage
for two months by the Taliban in the district of Zhari in the
southern province of Kandahar.

"It is confusing why he was there. We`ve talked to him.
He`s been questioned but it`s still confusing," the official
said.

"American soldiers were on a patrol when they saw him. He
told them he was American and then they brought him to the
base."

"Was he abducted? What was he doing there? We have no
idea," said the official, saying the man was in "fine health"
with only some "scratches" when examined.

The Taliban militia have been fighting an insurgency
against US-led foreign troops and the Afghan government since
the 2001 US-led invasion brought down their regime in the wake
of the September 11 attacks on the US.

PTI