Kidnappers free Nepalese in Kabul

Kidnappers have freed one of two abducted Nepalese working as guards for a British aid organization while the second died of an illness while in captivity, officials said Tuesday.

The pair were forced at gunpoint to get into a vehicle on Feb. 11 as they walked through a Kabul suburb that is home to dozens of aid groups, diplomatic missions and other foreign organizations.

"Last night, we found one Nepalese alive and the body of the second," said Deputy Interior Minister Abdul Malik Sadiqi.

He said it was not clear when the ill hostage died, but that he was sick with an unspecified stomach condition. The surviving hostage was in a stable condition in hospital. Neither man was tortured, the official said.

Sadiqi said security forces surrounded a western suburb of Kabul late Monday after police received a tip-off that the kidnappers were going to move the pair out of the city. Security forces later found the two abandoned in a house.

He said the men worked as guards for the British Department For International Development, the U.K. government's aid organization.

He said no ransom had been paid to the kidnappers, who he described as members of a criminal gang.

Nepal has no diplomatic mission in Afghanistan, so its ambassador in neighboring Pakistan, Puskar Man Rajbhandari, was leading Katmandu's efforts to free the two.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Rajbhandari identified the two as Chet Narayan Pun of Baglung town and Thanam Sing Lamichane Rana of Butwal town, both men in their 30s, reports the AP.

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