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Two Turkish Nationals Kidnapped In Afghanistan

Construction crews and engineers have been frequent targets in Afghanistan
HERAT, Afghanistan -- Unknown gunmen kidnapped two Turkish nationals working on a construction project in western Afghanistan on July 14, a senior police official said.

Kidnapping has become a lucrative business in Afghanistan, where dozens of locals and foreigners have been abducted by criminals or Taliban-linked militants.

"The Turkish engineers were working on a project in the town of Islam Qala, bordering Iran, where they were kidnapped from the vehicle yesterday afternoon," regional police chief Abdul Rahoof Ahmadi said.

"We found the vehicle and their passports inside the car.... The kidnappers might have taken them on foot somewhere," he said.

Islam Qala is on the main border crossing with Iran, a place where there is little Taliban activity. Criminals, however, have carried out kidnappings in the past and handed over their captives to the Taliban in return for money.

Neither the Taliban nor any other armed group claimed responsibility for the latest abduction.

Ousted from power in 2001, Taliban insurgents have been behind a number of kidnappings in Afghanistan. Some victims have been killed, but most of the victims have been released unharmed.

The insurgents kidnapped 23 South Koreans last year, killing two and releasing the rest more than a month later.