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American kidnapped in southern Afghanistan: Governor

KABUL, Jan 26 (KUNA) -- An American aid worker was kidnapped in the volatile southern Afghanistan on Saturday, a top provincial official said.
Governor of Afghanistan's southern Kandahar province Asadullah Khalid told journalists that the American woman and her driver was snatched from a road outside the city of Kandahar, capital of the province having the same name.
Khalid said initial investigations suggested that the foreigner was an aid working of the Asian Rural Life Development Foundation.
The governor said the woman was wearing a burqa, the head to toe veil used by Afghan women to cover their body. Khalid accused Taliban for abducting the aid worker and her driver; however, the militants did not issue any comment so far. Also officials of the US embassy in Kabul did not respond to calls by journalists.
Southern Afghanistan has been the hot spot for foreign visitors, journalists as well as aid workers. Last year, the militants had kidnapped an Italian journalist Gabrielle Torsello. He was freed later following a secret deal. His release was followed by the kidnapping of another Italian journalist Danielle Mastrogiacomo and his Afghan interpreter and driver. The two Afghans were beheaded while the foreigner were freed by Taliban as a result of a clandestine deal with the Afghan government on behalf of the Italian embassy.
Later in July 2007, the militants kidnapped 23 South Korean missionaries. Two of them were killed while the rest were freed after alleged payment of huge ransom and acceptance of some other demands of the kidnappers by the Afghan and Korean governments.
Meanwhile, two Afghan soldiers were slightly injured in a suicide bomb blast in the same volatile south. The explosion took place in the district of Musa Qala, recently retaken by the foreign and Afghan troops from the Taliban militants.
The Defence Ministry in Kabul said the bomber was trying to sneak into a military facility. He detonated himself when stopped by the soldiers on the gate. Only two soldiers were slightly injured while the bomber was killed in the explosion. (end) gk.tg KUNA 261630 Jan 08NNNN