Turkish restaurant owner freed in Afghanistan

Turkish restaurant owner freed in Afghanistan

KABUL - Agence France-Presse
Turkish restaurant owner freed in Afghanistan

Turkish restaurant owner Sami Yavuz, who was kidnapped 11 days ago in Kabul, was freed in Afghanistan. AA photo

Turkish restaurant owner Sami Yavuz kidnapped 11 days ago in Kabul was freed in an overnight raid by elite commandos from Afghanistan's intelligence agency, officials said Thursday.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said it had rescued the man from a house on the outskirts of the capital and handed him over to the Turkish embassy.

He was taken hostage at gunpoint on May 12 in Taimany, a district of Kabul popular with foreign residents.

"A Turkish investor and businessman who was taken hostage by a kidnap gang was freed last night in an operation," Shafiqullah Tahiri, the NDS spokesman, told reporters.

Tahiri said the search continued for the gang, who fled the house before the commandos arrived.

In a separate incident eight Turkish engineers were released earlier this month, three weeks after they were taken hostage by Taliban insurgents when their helicopter crash-landed in Logar province south of Kabul.

Turkey has about 1,800 troops in the US-led NATO force fighting the Taliban, which is trying to bring down President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed government.

Kidnapping is rife in Afghan cities as criminal gangs, some of them linked to corrupt officials and powerful warlords, target rich citizens and occasionally foreign nationals for ransom.