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Eleven Mine Clearers Kidnapped In Afghanistan

Afghan deminers clear mines from a field in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province in February 2016.

Afghan officials say 11 mine clearers have been kidnapped by gunmen in the west of the country.

Police in Herat Province said on April 2 that all 11 were Afghans employed by the HALO Trust mine-clearing organization and that they had been abducted on April 1.

A military operation has been launched in the area to secure their release. Six suspects have been detained, police said.

Local tribal leaders had earlier tried to negotiate the deminers’ release.

Abduction for ransom is widespread in Afghanistan, and deminers are easy targets as they usually work in remote regions.

After almost 40 years of war, Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world.

Based on reporting by AP