Gunmen free last three kidnapped Afghan deminers

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KABUL, Sep 13 (Reuters) Gunmen have freed the last three of 13 Afghan deminers abducted last week, their employer said today, but it was not immediately clear who was behind the abduction.

The deminers belonging to Afghan Technical Consultants were abducted while travelling in a convoy in the southeastern province of Paktia a week ago. The Taliban, who have been behind a series of abductions of foreign nationals and Afghans in recent months, denied any involvement.

''The last three kidnapped deminers were set free by the gunmen today morning. No ransom was paid,'' demining consultancy head Kefayatullah Eblagh told Reuters.

''We are very thankful to tribal elders who got them freed.'' The mass-kidnapping came days after the Taliban vowed to abduct and kill foreign nationals from countries that have troops in Afghanistan, and after the insurgents' high-profile kidnapping of 23 South Korean missionaries.

REUTERS JT KP1108

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