11 landmine clearers kidnapped in Afghanistan

11 landmine clearers kidnapped in Afghanistan

Eleven landmine clearers have been kidnapped by gunmen in western Afghanistan, an official said.

Rauf Ahmadi, spokesman for the police chief of western Herat province, said a military operation has been launched in the area, with six suspects detained.

He said tribal elders had earlier tried negotiating for the men's release.

He said all 11 were Afghans employed by the Halo Trust mine clearing organisation. They were abducted on Friday.

Abduction for ransom is widespread in lawless Afghanistan, and mine clearers are soft targets because they usually work in remote regions.

After almost 40 years of war, Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

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