Page last updated at 21:02 GMT, Friday, 18 July 2008 22:02 UK

Aid workers seized in Afghanistan

Afghan women wait for food rations distributed by an international aid group in Kabul (file image)
France said the kidnap of humanitarian personnel was 'totally unacceptable'

Two French aid workers have been abducted in central Afghanistan, the French aid organisation Action Against Hunger has announced.

The pair, who have not been named, were seized at gunpoint in the early hours of Friday from their house in Daykundi province, the Paris-based group said.

It said the kidnappers tied up guards before breaking in and escaping with the aid workers in waiting vehicles.

Action Against Hunger said it had halted relief work in Afghanistan.

'Totally unacceptable'

Action Against Hunger said a crisis group had been set up in Paris and the Afghan capital, Kabul, in an effort to secure the hostages' release.

It said the information it had indicated the two workers were still alive.

The French foreign ministry has confirmed the kidnappings. In a statement it said: "Making humanitarian personnel a target is totally unacceptable."

The governor of Daykundi, which is about 300km (190 miles) west of Kabul, told the AFP news agency that the pair were kidnapped by "enemies of the Afghan government".

No group has said it carried out the abductions.

Two French relief workers from another humanitarian group, Terre d'Enfance, were abducted last year and held for weeks before being set free.

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