5 aid workers seized in western Afghanistan - report

Kabul - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Saturday that five of its Afghan staff were kidnapped by a local armed group two days ago in the western province of Herat.

"The incident happened when the team was travelling by road in Herat province on 14 August," said Marek Resich, an ICRC spokesperson in Kabul.

He said the organisation was working on multiple levels "to secure their safe return".

In a separate incident, the Taliban abducted 13 people on Friday who had been working to clear mines in central Ghazni province and were travelling to the capital, according to a local official.

"We have already spoken to elders in the area to use their influence and speak to the Taliban to release them," Shafiq Nang Safi, a spokesperson for provincial governor, said on Saturday.

The latest spate of kidnappings underscores the ongoing dangers faced by both Afghans and foreigners working for development and aid groups across the country.

Last year, there were more than 230 attacks on the humanitarian sector in Afghanistan, according to the United Nations.

The Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS), which rescued three Indian citizens this week who had been kidnapped by the Taliban in Logar province, asked all foreigners to report to police before travelling in the country.