KABUL (AFP) – Gunmen abducted a French aid worker in the Afghan capital Monday and shot dead an Afghan man who tried to rescue him, the Kabul government said, in the latest of a series of attacks on foreigners here.
The man, who works for a non-governmental organisation, was walking in a residential area of Kabul when he was snatched by three armed men, interior ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashari told AFP.
A second foreigner escaped, witnesses said.
“Today at 9:15 am a French national was abducted by three armed men,” Bashari told AFP. “A man… who tried to help and stop the abductors was shot and killed as he tried to scuffle with the abductors.”
A statement from the ministry said later that the abducted man had been walking to his office at the Afrane educational organisation in the Kart-e-Parwan suburb close to the city centre.
His nationality could not be immediately confirmed by the French government or embassy, or the group.
There has been a series of kidnappings in the capital, mostly by criminal gangs seeking thousands of dollars in ransom, and three expatriates were shot dead in attacks last month.
The dead man was identified by his uncle as Malik, 26, who was a driver for a provincial intelligence department.
“My nephew tried to stop them abducting the foreigners,” said the uncle, Ghulam Hazrat, 50.
“He grabbed the gun of one of the kidnappers. The other shot him dead with five bullets. At this time one of the foreigners ran away and they put the other in the car, kicking him badly.”
The two foreigners had been walking towards a main road but the armed men were waiting for them in a car, Hazrat said. They grabbed the two and tried to shove them into the car when Malik intervened, he said.
Another witness said he had seen two foreign men being followed down a street by two armed men, with a third in a car behind them.
“One of the foreigners tripped and the other continued to run,” said Hajatullah, 28, who lives in the area.
“The two abductors arrived as the foreigner fell to the ground. A man stopped his car and tried to take the gun from one of the abductors.
“The second abductor opened fire and killed the man trying to help. The two forced the foreigner into the waiting car and disappeared.”
There are hundreds of international aid organisations in Afghanistan trying to help the country recover from three decades of war.
An NGO security watchdog, ANSO, has said attacks against humanitarian groups were at their highest this year since the extremist Taliban regime was toppled in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
A dual national British-South African woman working with disabled children was shot dead in the capital last month in a killing claimed by the Taliban insurgent movement which alleged her NGO was preaching Christianity.
The charge was rejected by the group, SERVE Afghanistan.
Days later another South African and a Briton were shot dead by an Afghan guard as they arrived at work for their company, the international courier firm DHL.
The guard then turned the gun on himself. The interior ministry said the killing may have been “terrorist attack” with the gunman believed to have had links with anti-government groups, or the motivation may have been personal.