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    Babacan meets Afghan FM, conveys concern about abducted Turks

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    26.10.2008 - 10:29 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said he had expressed his concerns about the abduction of his countrymen during a meeting with his Afghan counterpart in Kabul Saturday. (UPDATED)

    Two Turkish engineers working on a communications project in Afghanistan have been kidnapped in the eastern province of  Khost along with their Afghan driver and translator. 

    "I expressed our worries over our citizens, who were kidnapped a few days ago and from whom we have not been able to get news, in my meeting today with Dr. Spanta and we are sure that Afghan officials will show all necessary efforts in this case," Babacan, who arrived in Afghanistan for a pre-planned visit, told a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta.

    "It is our strong desire and expectation as the Turkish Republic that our citizens should be returned to their homes and jobs in perfect health," Babacan said.

    Afghan intelligence officials and the provincial governor were working to resolve the issue, told a joint news conference with Babacan, Spanta told the conference.

    He added the Turks were believed to have been abducted by a criminal gang.

    The men had been contracted to erect a radio mast, provincial governor Arsala Jamal said Saturday. There had been no contact from the abductors, who were unknown, he said.

    A spokesman for the Taliban, which has carried out several kidnappings for ransom or to put political pressure on the authorities, said the militia was not responsible and blamed bandits, AP reported.

    Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday and the issue is placed in his agenda.

    Babacan also said upcoming elections would further strengthen democracy in Afghanistan.

    "Our countries have been cooperating with each other in many areas including health, education and agriculture. Turkey has extended intense support to Afghanistan in its efforts to develop its own security and defense capacity. During my stay in Afghanistan, I will attend inaugurations of some projects," he said.

    "So far, construction of 41 schools has been completed. Construction of new schools, hospitals and health clinics have also been continuing," he added.

    Babacan also held talks with Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and Education Minister Faroq Wardak.

    Babacan visited Sunday the Turkish battalion and the children's home in Kabul as part of his official trip to Afghanistan.

    He also paid a visit to the city of Vardak and received information on the Turkish Development and Construction Team's activities there from the civilian coordinator Cuneyt Yavuzcan, Anatolian Agency reported.

    "All assistance teams, including the United Nations, left Vardak due to the Taliban threat. Only the Turks remained here. We will go on with our works in the city. Vardak is one of the poorest cities of Afghanistan and it is under great threat from the Taliban," Yavuzcan told Babacan.

    A total of 267 Afghans were trained by Turkish police officers at the Police Training Center in Vardak, Yavuzcan quoted as saying by Anatolian Agency.




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