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Afghan police chief says 2 missing Germans were shot to death
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) ' Two Germans who disappeared nearly three weeks ago while hiking in the Hindu Kush mountains were shot to death, a police general said Monday.
Gen. Sher Ahmad Maladani, police chief of Afghanistan's eastern Parwan province, said Monday that a rescue team reached the bodies in the late afternoon. He says the two men had bullet wounds in their chests, but it's not clear when they died.
He said he had asked the Ministry of Interior and German army for helicopters to help get the bodies down from the mountains. It took the rescue team four hours to reach the bodies on foot from the main road.
Police at the scene said they could not recover the bodies Monday because of darkness and would try again in the morning.
"They have several bullet holes to the chest. We are not sure when they died, but the bodies are in good condition," Maladani said.
The area where the bodies were found is extremely rugged and remote. Police Gen. Rajab, who like many Afghans goes by only one name, said the two bodies were inside cloth sacks.
Parwan governor Abdul Basir Salangi said they were discovered under a large boulder about 2 1/2 miles (four kilometers) from the south end of the Salang Pass, where they began their hike on Aug. 19. He had no other details, and it remained unclear who found the bodies. The area is inhabited mostly by nomadic shepherds who live in tents.
A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with ministry rules, confirmed that two bodies were found in Parwan province but said he could not give any further details until they had been identified beyond doubt.
In unrelated incidents, a roadside bomb and a suicide bomber killed eight people and wounded 20 in two attacks around the country, the Interior Ministry said.
Five civilians were killed Monday when a roadside bomb exploded next to their vehicle in western Afghanistan's Faryab province. Also, the ministry said, in southern Kandahar city late Sunday, a suicide car bomber killed three Afghan private security guards and wounded another 20. The guards were part of a convoy and had stopped for evening prayers when the attack occurred. The ministry provided no other details on either incident.
The region where the Germans disappeared is not a Taliban area. Last month Afghan police speculated the two men could have gotten lost in the high mountains or may have been the victims of a crime. The agency they were working for has not been named.
The day they disappeared, the two traveled to the south end of the Salang Pass, north of Kabul, around 8 a.m. and told their driver they were going into the mountains. They promised to return at 4 p.m. and the driver waited until 6 p.m. before contacting local authorities, and the search began.
The Salang Pass is a major route through the Hindu Kush mountains that connects the Afghan capital, Kabul, with the northern part of the nation.
Germany has been a major contributor to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan and currently has some 5,200 troops stationed in the country, largely in the north.