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Afghanistan

Malaysian among three foreigners abducted and shot dead in Afghanistan capital Kabul

The three worked as cooks for a Sodexo, the world’s second-largest food and catering services company

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 02 August, 2018, 5:33pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 August, 2018, 6:30pm

Militants abducted and killed three foreign nationals working for international food company Sodexo in Kabul on Thursday, deepening concerns about security of expatriates in Afghanistan.

A senior diplomat and two Afghan security officials said the three worked as cooks at Sodexo, the world’s second-largest food and catering services company.

“An Indian, a Malaysian and a Macedonian citizen were abducted and killed. We have found their bodies,” Hashmat Stanekzai, spokesman for Kabul’s police chief, said.

Police officer Jan Aga said the three worked as cooks at Kabul’s airport.

The Malaysian national was 64, the Indian was 39 and the Macedonian was 37. They were all travelling for work with a local driver.

An Afghan security official said they found identity cards next to the bodies and officials at Sodexo in Afghanistan have confirmed their identities. The company had no immediate comment.

Police said the three men were abducted near Pul-e-Charkhi on the eastern outskirts of Kabul but their bodies were found in a car parked in the Mussahi district in the southern part of Kabul province.

“They were shot dead and their bodies were found inside a car,” said Nusrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the interior ministry.

Sodexo manages canteens and facilities for offices, the military, schools, hospitals and prisons, and also supplies vouchers for meals and gifts. Its clients range from the Royal Ascot Racecourse in England to the US Marine Corps.

Kabul is plagued by criminal gangs who stage abductions for ransom, often targeting foreigners and wealthy locals, and sometimes hand them over to insurgent groups.

Kidnapping of Afghans and foreigners is also common across Afghanistan where swathes of the country are infested with militant groups or criminal gangs.

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 Taliban hostage video, with the insurgents later adding that King was in poor health.

Aid workers in particular have increasingly been casualties of a surge in violence in recent years.

Afghan civilians have borne the brunt of the grinding conflict that began after the 2001 US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime.

Militant attacks and suicide bombs were the leading causes of civilian deaths in the first half of 2018, a recent UN report showed.

While the Taliban is Afghanistan’s largest militant group and holds or contests more territory than any other insurgent outfit, the Islamic State has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to carry out devastating attacks in urban areas.

The incident comes a day after more than 150 Islamic State fighters surrendered in northern Afghanistan move that Afghan security forces and the Taliban hailed as the end of the extremist group in the north of the country.

Reuters, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse