ISLAMABAD: Two engineers who were kidnapped in northern Afghanistan last month have been rescued, Afghan officials said.
Unidentified gunmen had kidnapped the engineers, who were working with a construction company in Jawzjan province, and their Afghan driver.
Jawzjan police chief Faqir Muhammad Jawzjani said elders and influential personalities played a role to free the engineers on Thursday.
Jawzjani told Azadi Radio that the Taliban had not been involved in the abduction, and an investigation substantiated that a group of kidnappers was behind the incident.
He said the kidnappers had received ransom to set the engineers free; however, the construction company has denied paying any money.
Police commander (operations) Col Abdul Manan Raufi said the engineers had reached a police post in the Dasht-e-Laila area and would soon be shifted to the provincial capital, Shiberghan, Pajhwok news agency reported.
The two were abducted on September 7 from the Dasht-e-Laila on the Shiberghan highway. Their driver was killed after they were abducted, but the engineers were kept hostage by the kidnappers.
Jawzjani says the construction company was run by three partners who had differences, and that the kidnapping could be linked to the dispute among the three partners.
Meanwhile, Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters that the Taliban had not kidnapped the engineers.
Afghan officials say over 200,000 Pakistani nationals work in Afghanistan — majority of whom are involved in construction. Officials say around 50,000 Afghans cross the border points at Torkham and Chaman daily.