The Taliban has abducted 18 Afghani land mine experts in Afghanistan and is threatening to kill them if it is shown they have been working with the United States-led coalition forces, officials said.
Four trained sniffer-dogs were also seized on Saturday, according to a report in the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
The abductions took place in the Ghazni province in east Afghanistan.
A Taliban leader told Reuters the kidnapping was being investigated.
“After that we will decide what to do,” he said.
The group has made no demands to secure the landmine experts’ release.
Shihab Hakimi, director of a landmine detection center, said the experts, who were kidnapped at gunpoint, had been working in Afghanistan for 18 years. He called on the Taliban to release them immediately, according to the paper.
Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, a result of years of war and conflict.
Several non-governmental organizations and agencies are working to eradicate the mines and are supported by the Afghani government and by the West.
The Taliban has executed several foreigners suspected of spying or working with the U.S.-led forces, which ousted the Taliban in 2001.
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