Ray of hope for Afghan kidnapped Brit

Afghan authorities believe they have tracked down gunmen holding a British security guard and his Afghan interpreter and will send a delegation to meet the kidnappers, a provincial official said on Friday.

The governor of Farah province, Izatullah Wasifi, said the gunmen and their hostages were believed to be in a remote mountain village called Zerkoh Balabaluk.

A delegation of tribal elders was being gathered to visit the village.

"As soon as possible we're sending the delegation to see if they are there and to talk with the kidnappers, find out their demands, why they've kidnapped them," Wasifi told Reuters.

A British engineer was being held hostage last night after armed men kidnapped him as he traveled through a remote province of western Afghanistan.

The Taliban claimed initial responsibility for the attack but officials in Kabul said that it was more likely the work of bandits known to operate in the area.

The engineer, named only as David after his next-of-kin requested his name not be released, was working on a road-building project linking Kandahar in the south with Herat in the north-west.

He had been working as a security consultant with the American construction company Louis Berger and was abducted at 4pm on Wednesday.

The convoy in which he was traveling was protected by Afghan police escorts and private armed guards from the American company Protection and Investigation, according to local news agencies, reminds Telegraph.

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