5 Afghan health workers kidnapped in Afghanistan

July 15, 2010 12:56

KABUL, Afghanistan — Gunmen kidnapped five Health Ministry employees in the volatile southern Afghan province of Kandahar while police elsewhere said they had killed a Taliban commander, officials said Thursday.

Bombings, gun battles, assassinations and abductions have been increasing this year as thousands of American troops partnered with Afghan forces fan out in the insurgents' southern strongholds to try to wrest back control and establish effective local government.Members of a medical team were abducted while returning to Kandahar city, the provincial capital, after visiting a project in Maiwand district, provincial spokesman Zulmi Ayubi said Thursday.

The gunmen forced the car to stop about a mile (two kilometers) outside Maiwand and abducted two doctors, a pharmacist, a nurse and their driver, Ayubi said. The Health Ministry issued a statement calling for their release.

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