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Feds still unsure if Canadian captured in Afghanistan 0

By Kristy Kirkup, Parliamentary Bureau

Wardak Province in Afghanistan. (GOOGLE MAPS/HO)

Wardak Province in Afghanistan. (GOOGLE MAPS/HO)

OTTAWA -- Foreign Affairs has not been able to confirm reports citing the alleged capture of a Canadian civilian in Afghanistan that has been circulating for days.

 

Afghan-based news agencies have reported a Canadian man and an American woman were captured on Thursday in Wardak province, located west of Kabul, while the pair was travelling.

Ottawa says it is still investigating the reports.

"We are pursuing all appropriate channels to seek further information and are in close contact with Afghan authorities," a department spokesperson said in a statement.

U.S. and Canadian diplomats have said they are unaware of anyone reported missing but Afghan police say they have information suggesting a pair of foreigners may have been "kidnapped."

"According to the Provincial Reconstruction Team report they had planned to travel from Kabul to Wardak," Wardak police spokesman Wali Mohammad told Reuters. "The missing foreigners were in contact until they reached the Kampany area on Kabul's outskirts. After that they lost contact."

NATO-led forces have indicated they are aware of the reports but say diplomats and Afghan police will be in charge of the search.

The kidnapping of foreigners in Afghanistan has become more common since the Taliban government was topped in 2001.

In May, two female doctors working for a Swiss charity were captured by insurgent gunmen and were later returned by NATO officers.

At least two Canadians have also been victims. CBC journalist Mellissa Fung was captured in 2008 and held for 28 days before being released.

Toronto's Colin Mackenzie Rutherford went missing in Afghanistan in 2010. A man identifying himself as Rutherford later appeared in a video released by the Taliban in May 2011 and said he was being treated "humanely" by his captors. His status is unknown.

-with files from Reuters

Kristy.Kirkup@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @kkirkup

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