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Iranian Engineer: Afghan Kidnappers Wanted Us To Stop Building Road

One of a group of Iranian engineers and construction workers kidnapped for three days in western Afghanistan says their captors were angered by the road they were building, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reports.

The 12 Iranian road builders were working on an Afghanistan-Iran highway when they were kidnapped by armed men on April 18 in the Pusht-e-Koh area of Farah Province near the border with Iran.

They were freed on April 20 with the help of a delegation of local tribal elders who took part in negotiations with their captors.

An RFE/RL reporter managed to catch up with one of the engineers as they prepared to board a bus for Iran. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

"We were working in the field; when [a group of] men came and seized us -- four engineers and eight workers -- all unaware," he said.

"They told us that they were Taliban. They didn’t treat us poorly, and shared with us whatever food they could get from villagers. They wanted us to stop building roads. They said it shouldn’t be built here."

A local police chief told RFE/RL that the road is intended to connect Farah's provincial capital with Iran, and that it counters the interest of those that he described as "enemies of the people of Afghanistan."