An American citizen living in Afghanistan was kidnapped on his way to work in the country’s capital city on Sunday, according to Afghan security officials.
The unknown gunmen kidnapped the American in the Karte Char district of Kabul, reports Khaama Press, an Afghan news agency.
Mohammad Almas, head of the Kabul police department’s crime investigation unit, said the kidnappers posed as members of the Afghan security forces, donning their uniforms, to trick the victim into stopping his vehicle.
The same tactic was used in April, when Taliban insurgents infiltrated an Afghan army base dressed as soldiers and killed up to 140 people, mostly Afghan military personnel.
Police officials initially said the American worked with the World Bank on a project for the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, however a spokesman for the World Bank, Alex Ferguson, denied the claim.
“No World Bank staff have been kidnapped,” Ferguson told ABC News. “Our understanding is that these reports refer to an employee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAIL) who is working for the National Horticulture and Livestock Project (NHLP), which is funded by a World Bank managed trust fund.”
Another similar kidnapping occurred in August of last year, in which two professors from the American University of Afghanistan—Kevin King, 60, an American and John Weeks, 48, an Australian—were kidnapped in Kabul by the Taliban.
The professors were driving through West Kabul when several gunmen approached the vehicle, one of whom smashed the passenger window with the barrel of his gun and pulled the men out of the car. The abductees’ driver and bodyguard were not harmed in the incident.
On Wednesday the Taliban released its second video of the hostages, according to a jihadist monitoring firm SITE intelligence.
In the video, King asks President Trump to “Have mercy on me and get me out,” later pleading for him to “not send any commandos,” according to SITE.
Weeks, addressing Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, asks him to “speak to the Taliban, negotiate with the Taliban. I know you are able to do this.”
The first video was released in January, the first confirmation from the captors they they were holding the two Westerners. That footage was similar to that released Wednesday, with the hostages pleading with Western political leaders.
In both videos, the location of the filming is unclear, as is the date the footage was captured.
“If we stay here for much longer, we will be killed,” Weeks said in the footage from January. “I don’t want to die here.”
The risk of kidnapping is high for foreign nationals in Afghanistan, especially in the capital city. Two other Australian women were also abducted by unknown assailants in 2016.
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