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BRITON KIDNAPPED IN AFGHANISTAN

BBC News - 1 September 2005 A British man has been kidnapped in Afghanistan after his convoy was attacked, Afghan officials have said. At least three policemen are believed dead after the Briton's convoy was ambushed in the west of the country. The man was reported to have been working on a roadway construction project in the area. There is confusion over who was responsible, with the Taleban blamed by police and security officials while a government spokesman blamed criminals. Taleban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi told the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press that they were behind the attack. The British Embassy in Kabul confirmed there had been an incident and that it was working with the Afghanistan government. A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are aware an incident has taken place in Afghanistan as a result of which a UK national is missing and we are urgently seeking further details from the Afghan authorities." Violence has been increasing in Afghanistan in the run-up to parliamentary elections due next month. The unidentified Briton, who was kidnapped on Wednesday, works for a foreign company building a highway from the southern city of Kandahar to the western city of Herat, according to local police chief Allah Uddin Noorzi. Mr Noorzi added that a Filipino employee of the company escaped and was later found hiding under a bridge. It was reported that the Briton's interpreter was also abducted. The Nato-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan said it had established checkpoints in the area and had mobilised a surveillance aircraft, the Reuters news agency reported. Insurgent activity The kidnapping comes just weeks after the abduction of a Lebanese engineer who was involved in the construction of another road in southern Afghanistan. The man was released unhurt a few days later. Insurgents have stepped up attacks in the lead-up to elections on 18 September. More than 1,100 people have been killed in the last six months.





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