HERAT, Afghanistan, (Reuters) – Two Iranian nationals were abducted while travelling from the western Afghanistan city of Herat towards the Iranian border earlier this week, a provincial police spokesman said on Saturday.
Kidnapping has become a lucrative business in Afghanistan, where dozens of Afghans and foreigners have been abducted by criminals or Taliban-linked militants.
“Two Iranian citizens were abducted on the highway between Herat and Islam Qala,” said police spokesman General Abdul Rauf. “We are conducting an operation to release these two Iranians,” he said.
Humayun Kamgar, an official from the Foreign Ministry in Herat, said he had been in touch with the two Iranians before they went missing but had lost contact with them on Wednesday evening.
It was assumed they had been kidnapped then or shortly after.
One of the two kidnapped men is Reza Usmani, director of an Iranian road construction company which paved the road linking Herat with Iran, said Kamgar. His company is constructing a road from Herat to Faryab province to the northeast, Kamgar said.
The second man is Hasan Parsiyani, a businessman who was looking to invest in Afghanistan, he said.