Afghan police find bodies of 3 abducted foreign nationals in Kabul



An Afghan National Police officer checks a vehicle inside Kabul's Enhanced Security Zone July 23. Authorities established the zone after a May 31, 2017, truck bombing near the German embassy. [Jackie Faye/NATO]

KABUL -- Afghan police in Kabul Thursday (August 2) recovered the bodies of three foreign nationals who they said had been abducted and killed.

The victims, all working for French logistics company Sodexo in Kabul, were from India, Macedonia and Malaysia, said Bahar Mehr, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

"At this stage we think it is a terrorist incident," police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai told AFP.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the killings.

The group left their office by car with a driver on Thursday.

Just over an hour later authorities found their bodies in what appeared to be a different car in the rural outskirts of Kabul.

"They had been shot inside the car," Mehr said.

Another spokesman with the ministry said the car's driver was being questioned by police and treated as a possible suspect.

He added that all three victims had been handcuffed and shot, with two of the bodies later placed in the trunk of the car.

'Deeply saddened and shocked'

"We are deeply saddened and shocked to learn of the tragic loss of three of our team members in Kabul, Afghanistan today," Sodexo said in a statement.

"On behalf of the Sodexo community, I want to say that our hearts are with their families, friends and colleagues," said Chief Executive Denis Machuel.

"Sodexo is working closely with the authorities in Kabul and will share further information when available," he said. "We can confirm that the employees were of Malaysian, Indian and Macedonian nationalities. We are putting in place a psychological support line for our local employees."

Earlier this year, six Indian engineers working in northern Afghanistan were abducted along with their driver.

In August 2016, gunmen wearing military uniforms kidnapped two professors of the American University of Afghanistan in the heart of Kabul.

The two, American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, appeared looking haggard in a hostage video, with the Taliban adding last October that King was in poor health.

Meanwhile, Afghan civilians have borne the brunt of the grinding conflict against the Taliban. Militant attacks and suicide bombs were the leading causes of civilian deaths in the first half of 2018, a recent UN report showed.

The total number of civilians killed was 1,692, the highest number for the period since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began keeping records in 2009.

Another 3,430 people were wounded, the report said.

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