12 Afghan workers kidnapped: police

KABUL: At least 12 Afghan construction workers were kidnapped on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, officials said.

"Twelve workers who work for the private construction firm Gurbuz have been kidnapped," said General Azizuddin Wardak, head of police in Paktya province where the people were snatched.

Ghulam Dastagir Rostamyar, head of the province's secret police, put the number of kidnapped workers at 15 and added they were taken by armed men.

Both officials said the kidnapping was not linked to the violent insurgency gripping parts of Afghanistan but was part of a private dispute.

"They could all be freed tomorrow, the tribal chiefs have left to try and get them released," Wardak said.

Abductions are common in Afghanistan and are often carried out by insurgents seeking to exert political pressure or by kidnappers trying to get ransoms.