KABUL, Afghanistan – A senior Afghan official says unknown kidnappers have seized 57 civilian de-miners on their way to work in western Afghanistan.
The governor of Herat province, Faizullah Wahidi, said the de-miners — all Afghan — were abducted in the Pashtun Zargun district as they drove to an area that needed to be cleared of mines.
Wahidi did not know who kidnapped the de-miners or why. He says 63 were originally taken, but six were later released.
After 30 years of near continuous conflict and war, Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.
Although the Taliban plant mines and roadside bombs, they general do not hamper the work of civilian de-miners who work to clear farmlands and other common land of old explosives.