Police and one of the kidnapped men said a group of seven Taliban gunmen abducted the five in the southern province of Helmand.
They were being driven away into the neighboring Kandahar Province, where the abductors abandoned their captives after a brief shootout with police.
At least three of them were working for a U.S. security company, USPI.
In other news, the governor of the southern Ghazni Province, Sher Alam, said that a local police commander had been killed in an ambush on 21 January. Another policeman was injured in the incident.