German journalist probably abducted in Afghanistan

The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it was investigating claims that a German journalist may have been abducted in Afghanistan, a spokesman said.

Only last week, two German engineers were kidnapped in the country, one of whom who died while in custody.

"Our embassy in Kabul is following hints that possibly a German journalist is missing in Afghanistan, and we are working on a quick clarification of the situation," spokesman Martin Jaeger said.

German news channel NTV reported that Afghan officials had confirmed the kidnapping of an unidentified German journalist in eastern Afghanistan.

The claim came just days after Ruediger Diedrich, 43, died under unclear circumstances while in captivity.

His body will be flown back to Germany later this week and be autopsied to determine a cause of death, Jaeger said Tuesday, while efforts to release a second German are continuing.

Several Germans have been kidnapped in Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, but Diedrich is the first known to have died while in captivity. Twenty-five German soldiers have died while on duty in Afghanistan.

Ajmal Khan, a spokesman for the governor of Kunar province, said a three-man team was sent to the Watapur district to investigate whether the German and his translator had been abducted.

"I cannot confirm, I cannot deny the reports," he said . "We were not aware of the trip by the German in the area. He did not discuss such a trip with police or with the governors office."

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