5 Aid Workers Kidnapped in Afghanistan

Five Afghan aid workers, including three employed by a Swedish aid agency, were abducted in eastern Afghanistan, a police official said Sunday.

The five — two doctors and an employee of the aid agency Swedish Committee for Afghanistan and two local government workers — were kidnapped on Thursday while driving in the province of Nuristan, said Ghalamullah Nuristani, the provincial deputy police chief.

Abdallah Fahim, a spokesman for the Public Health Ministry in Kabul, said that the five were still alive, according to village elders in contact with the kidnappers, and that police and Afghan troops were looking for them.

"The elders and people of the area are cooperating," Nuristani said. "They will help us win their freedom very soon."

CountryWatch: Afghanistan

He did not give any details about who was suspected to have kidnapped the aid workers.

Shah Mahmoud, the acting director of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, said he had no comment on the kidnappings.

The five had traveled to inaugurate a health clinic in a remote village and on the return trip were kidnapped in an area between two mountains, Nuristani said.

The driver, who was freed by the kidnappers, contacted police, Nuristani said. The driver is in custody for questioning but is not a suspect, he said.

"We request from the kidnappers to release them," Fahim said. "They are not political or military people."