Academics kidnapped by gunmen in Afghan capital Kabul | News | DW | 08.08.2016
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Academics kidnapped by gunmen in Afghan capital Kabul

Authorities have confirmed that an American and Australian were abducted at gunpoint near to Kabul's American University of Afghanistan. The two professors are only the latest Westerners to be targeted by kidnappers.

The pair were seized from their SUV while traveling between the university and their residence, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said on Monday.

Up to five armed men were said to have carried out the kidnapping on Sunday night. Sediqqi said an investigation was underway.

The US Embassy in Kabul confirmed that a US citizen had been kidnapped but gave no further details "due to privacy concerns."

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed "the apparent kidnapping of an Australian in Kabul."

"We continue to advise Australians not to travel to Afghanistan because of the extremely dangerous security situation, including the serious threat of kidnapping," it said.

A familiar story

Kidnappings are not uncommon in Kabul and three other foreigners who were kidnapped over the past year in the city have all been released. They included an Indian woman, Judith D'Souza, who was held for more than a month and freed last month.

However, the whereabouts of Australian Kerry Jane Wilson, who was abducted in the eastern city of Jalalabad in April, are still unknown.

Most foreigners who live and work in Kabul are confined to their embassies or residential compounds with limited movement allowed. Some, such as journalists, have relative freedom to travel across the capital but face significant risks.

A group of tourists, including British, American and German nationals, came under gunfire from the Taliban on Thursday, with some of the party wounded. Their convoy had been passing through the scenic Bamiyan province on the way to the city of Herat.

rc/kl (dpa, AP, AFP)