updated 8/18/2007 7:58:31 AM ET 2007-08-18T11:58:31

Armed assailants abducted a German woman from a restaurant in Kabul on Saturday, officials said, as a Taliban spokesman said negotiations over 19 South Korean hostages held since July have failed.

In southern Afghanistan, a suicide car bomber targeting a security forces convoy killed 15 people.

In Saturday’s abduction in Kabul, the armed men pulled up next to a barbecue and fast food restaurant, and one of the men went inside and asked to order a pizza, said intelligence officials investigating the kidnapping. Two assailants waited outside, while another waited in a parked gray Toyota Corolla.

The man in the restaurant then pulled out a pistol, walked up to a table where the woman was sitting with her boyfriend, and took her away, the officials said on condition of anonymity because of policy. It was not immediately clear what happened to the boyfriend.

Police, alerted to the kidnapping, spotted the speeding car and opened fire, but instead hit a nearby taxi and killed its driver.

The latest kidnapping comes amid heightened fears of abductions, after 23 South Koreans and two Germans were taken hostage in separate incidents last month in central Afghanistan.

The German woman abducted Saturday worked for a small, nonaffiliated Christian organization called Ora International, a man affiliated with the group told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter with the press.

Based in the central German town of Korbach, north of Frankfurt, the group is active in 30 countries around the world and concentrates its efforts in Afghanistan on health issues and HIV/AIDS awareness, the group said on its Web site.

U.N. staff in Kabul, meanwhile, were told Saturday afternoon to remain in their locations, a U.N. official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on security matters. Other foreigners were also placed under tight security.

Julia Gross, spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin, said German officials were “pursuing reports of a possible kidnapping of a German citizen.”

The latest kidnapping comes amid heightened fears of abductions, after 23 South Koreans and two Germans were taken hostage in separate incidents last month in central Afghanistan.

One of the German men was shot to death, and the other remains captive.

Taliban militants killed two of the South Koreans and released two after face-to-face talks with South Korean officials.

Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said the group’s demands for the release of the remaining 19 South Koreans remains the same — a swap for Taliban prisoners, which the Afghan government has ruled out.

“That’s why from our side, we say the negotiations have failed, but we’re still ready for more negotiations if the Korean side is willing to meet our demands ... the exchange of prisoners,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments