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Armed assailants reportedly kidnapped a German aid worker in Kabul on Monday, according to a senior Afghan police official. Gul Agha Rouhani, the Afghan capital's deputy police chief, said the woman was taken by two gunmen who stopped her car early on Monday morning.
The woman, who has not been identified, is believed to be employed by German government aid agency GIZ. "Right now an investigation is ongoing," interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish told Reuters, while confirming the kidnapping.
"We cannot disclose the aid worker's name or nationality, but an operation is ongoing, and we hope it reaches a conclusion soon," Fraidoon Obaidi, chief of the criminal investigation department of Kabul police, said.
The incident took place in Kabul district 10, Qala-e-Fatullah, close to the GIZ offices, according to Spiegel Online. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the incident. Security sources said that the woman had previously worked in South America.
No comment was immediately available from the German embassy or GIZ in Kabul. The German Foreign Office and GIZ head office in Germany also did not comment.
Security in Kabul has deteriorated in recent months as Taliban insurgents have intensified their war against the Kabul government.
The militants have repeatedly said they would deliberately target foreigners. In recent months insurgents have launched a series of deadly attacks on offices, residential compounds and guest houses occupied by foreign nationals.
As the economy deteriorates and jobs dry up, abduction for ransom is also becoming more common, though mainly targeting Afghans.
Foreigners are seen as potentially lucrative kidnap victims, and while many live within strict security parameters, security measures such as armored cars can raise their profile for would-be kidnappers.
Earlier this year, a German national working with GIZ in northern Afghanistan was kidnapped as he drove through an area of Kunduz province called Ali Abad, well known as a hotbed of insurgent activity. He escaped in May after being held for six weeks.
In the past Germany has paid ransoms for kidnapped citizens.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.