German journalist feared kidnapped in Afghanistan: official

July 26, 2007 - 0:0

ASADABAD, Afghanistan (AFP) -- A German journalist and his two Afghan companions were Wednesday feared to have been kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan, a provincial spokesman said.

""We have reports that a German along with an Afghan driver and interpreter have been kidnapped in Watapour district,"" a spokesman for the government of eastern Kunar province, Shah Hussein, told AFP. If confirmed, he would be the third German national to be kidnapped in Afghanistan in a week. Two Germans, one of them found dead on Sunday, were kidnapped in the south of the country last Wednesday. The spokesman said the reporter was apparently kidnapped from the house in which he was staying in the early hours of Wednesday, although he had no further details and would not give the source of the information. The journalist was thought to have traveled to the remote district to report on a NATO-led air strike which killed 23 civilians some two weeks ago, Hussein said. An Afghan intelligence official speaking on condition of anonymity also said a German journalist had been kidnapped at around midnight from the house of a local man by ""opposition forces"". A Taleban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahed, said he had no information about the alleged kidnapping. The German embassy was not immediately available for comment. The Interior Ministry in Kabul said it was investigating ""unconfirmed"" reports of the abduction. ""We are working on this issue to find out if these unconfirmed reports are true. We don't know at this stage if anyone has been abducted in Kunar,"" ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary told AFP. The Taleban have claimed the abduction of the two other Germans and 23 South Koreans in separate incidents. They have demanded the release of 33 jailed fighters in exchange for the release of the hostages.