Alabama Man Kidnapped for Ransom

The State Department is looking into a report that a man was kidnapped during a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan and is being held by a tribal warlord for $25,000 ransom.
Amanda Bowers said Tuesday that her husband, political consultant Clark Bowers, called her with instructions on how to deliver the ransom money.

``I don't know many of the details, but I'll tell you what I know,'' Amanda Bowers said outside her home west of Huntsville, Ala.

Clark Bowers, 37, was delivering medical supplies and other humanitarian aid by private plane when he and an Afghan interpreter were abducted earlier this month, Amanda Bowers said.

She got a call from her husband on Jan. 9, when Bowers said he wanted her to start gathering money to secure his release.

Bowers didn't say whether any ransom would be paid. It also wasn't clear if the abduction had occurred on the plane or on the ground, or where her husband is now being held.

``Clark reported he had been driven blindfolded for several hours,'' she said.

She next heard from him Monday, when he called with details on how to deliver the ransom money.

An aide to U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California said the congressman, a longtime friend of Clark Bowers, had urged him not to go to Afghanistan.

``He's a thrill-seeker in a war zone,'' said Al Santoli, Rohrabacher's national security adviser.

A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the report about Bowers is being investigated.

In addition, Christopher Lamora, a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, told The Birmingham News that Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Abdullah would ask Afghan military forces and the country's interior minister to try to find Bowers.

John Kincannon, U.S. Embassy spokesman in Kabul, said the foreign ministry is aware of Bowers and doing what it could to gather more information about the case.

Bowers has been to Afghanistan twice since Sept. 11, his wife said. Both times he was delivering humanitarian aid paid for through private donations. She said her husband went to the country on his own.