Raid in hunt for Afghan hostages

US and Afghan forces have raided houses in Kabul as part of a hunt for three UN workers kidnapped last month.

US helicopters circled the area as ground forces smashed into two houses in the north of the city.

Ten people have been detained in the operation which took place in the early hours of Monday.

Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, Kosovan Shqipe Habibi and Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan were abducted at gunpoint from Kabul on 28 October.

They had been helping to conduct the recent presidential elections in the country.


American and Afghan soldiers used explosives to smash their way into the houses in the pre-dawn raid, damaging doors and windows.

A doctor working for the UN, Munir Mosamem, and his teenage son were among those taken away for questioning.

"This morning there was an operation related to releasing the hostages," a US military spokesperson, Lt Col Pamela Keeton said but declined to give details.

But eyewitnesses told the BBC that the soldiers showed pictures of the hostages to the neighbours and asked them if they had seen any of them.

It is the first raid since the hostages were abducted.

A group calling itself the Army of Muslims say they carried out the kidnapping and have demanded the release of prisoners held in Afghan jails and in Guantanamo Bay.

But officials have questioned the group's claim, suggesting the kidnapping may have been carried out by a criminal gang.

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