KABUL: Afghan police in Kabul on Thursday recovered the bodies of three foreign nationals who they said had been abducted and killed, in the latest incident targeting foreigners in the war-torn capital.
The killings come as the city has been rocked by an increasing number of attacks in recent months as the militant Islamic State group and the Taliban insurgents target security forces and government installations.
The victims, all working for a logistics company in Kabul, were from India, Macedonia and Malaysia, a spokesman for the interior ministry said.
“At this stage we think it is a terrorist incident,” police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.
The Malaysian foreign ministry later confirmed the death of its citizen, adding it was working with Afghan authorities “to obtain the latest developments, and to repatriate the deceased”.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the killings. The incident happened after the group left their office with a car and driver on Thursday.
Just over an hour later their bodies were found in what appeared to be a different car by authorities in the rural outskirts of Kabul.
“They had been shot inside the car,” said Bahar Mehr with the interior ministry.
Another spokesman with the ministry said the car’s driver was being questioned by police and treated as a possible suspect.
He added that all three had been handcuffed and shot, with two of the bodies later placed in the trunk of the car.
While the Taliban are Afghanistan’s largest militant group and hold or contest more territory than any other insurgent outfit, IS has repeatedly demonstrated its ability to carry out devastating attacks in urban areas.
The incident comes hours after more than 150 militants surrendered in northern Afghanistan — in a move that Afghan security forces and the Taliban hailed as the end of the extremist group in the north of the country.
Kabul is plagued by criminal gangs who stage abductions for ransom, often targeting foreigners and wealthy locals, and sometimes hand them over to insurgent groups.
Kidnapping of Afghans and foreigners is also common across Afghanistan where swathes of the country are infested with militant groups or criminal gangs.
Earlier this year six Indian engineers working in northern Afghanistan were abducted along with their driver.
In August 2016, gunmen wearing military uniforms kidnapped two professors of the American University of Afghanistan in the heart of Kabul.
The two, American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks, appeared looking haggard in a Taliban hostage video, with the insurgents later adding that King was in poor health.
Afghan civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict that began after the 2001 US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime.