(dpa) - Two road construction workers - an Indian and a Nepalese - went missing in western Afghanistan and a police official in the area said Tuesday he feared the two were kidnapped by an unknown group.
The workers, with a road construction company in the western province of Herat, went missing on the way between Herat city and Adraskan district of the province on Monday evening, said Noor Khan Nikzad, a spokesman for the provincial police chief.
"They were traveling in a local taxi and the police found their abandoned vehicle in Adraskan district," Nikzad said. "We don't know at the moment if the driver was behind the plot, or (if) he was also kidnapped along with the two workers."
He said he thought the two missing men were both Indian nationals.
However, Indian diplomatic sources in Kabul confirmed that one Indian worker had gone missing and said that the other missing man was a Nepalese.
The Indian mission in Afghanistan said Afghan authorities had started a search operation for the missing workers.
No group immediately took responsibility for the abduction, but such kidnappings in the past have been carried out by Taliban militants, who have waged a bloody insurgency against Afghan government and international forces in the country.
In April 2006, an Indian engineer working for a private phone company was kidnapped by Taliban fighters in the southern region and was killed after a few days of captivity.
Last year Afghanistan witnessed a spate of kidnappings, including the abduction of 23 South Korean missionaries and two German engineers.