Afghan Army soldier drink tea at Chinari outpost in Logar province, east Afghanistan, Tuesday, May 22, 2012.(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Two foreign doctors and their three Afghan colleagues have been kidnapped in a remote area in the extreme northeast Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday.
Abdul Maroof Rasikh, the spokesman for the governor of Badakhshan province, said it was unclear who kidnapped the five.
He said the kidnapping occurred on Tuesday as the group was traveling on horseback between Yaftal and Ragh districts about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the provincial capital of Faizabad.
He says the five were employed by a nonprofit humanitarian organization. Neither the name of the organization nor the identities of the five abducted were released. Deputy Governor Shams Ul Rahman Shams also confirmed the kidnapping.
Meanwhile, the Afghan intelligence service said five insurgents were arrested Wednesday before they carried out a suicide attack along a main road leading to the capital's international airport.
The would-be bombers were in a minivan loaded with 560 kilograms (1,235 pounds) of explosives when they were stopped at a checkpoint just after noon, the National Directorate of Security said in a statement. It said it had acted on a tip that an attack may be carried out in Kabul.
The intelligence service said the foiled attack was meant as a protest against a NATO summit in Chicago last week that discussed the future of Afghanistan. At the summit, the United States and its NATO allies forged ahead with plans to close the largely stalemated conflict and withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014.
"The enemies of peace of peace and stability in Afghanistan had a plan react to the decisions of the Chicago conference and carry out a suicide attack on the airport road, but before the incident took place the NDS was able to arrest them," the statement from the National Directorate of Security said.
Also Wednesday, doctors in the northern province of Takhar reported what they described as case of mass hysteria at a girl's school in the provincial capital Taluqan. They said 125 students were brought to the main hospital complaining they were sick, while a small number were vomiting. All were discharged but five, who were not ill but were kept for observation.
"We couldn't find any poisoning, we couldn't find anything in the water or food or air. We think that someone was feeling sick and it caused mass hysteria. Everyone started screaming and running around," said Habib Ullah Rustaqi, director of the Takhar health department.
Takhar's deputy governor, Farid Zaki, said the local authorities could not figure out what cased the panic. "We couldn't find anything," he said.
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