Asia Crisis

Afghans search for kidnapped U.S. aid worker

(Updates with comment from purported Taliban spokesman)

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Afghan forces searched on Sunday for a U.S. aid worker kidnapped by gunmen from the southern city of Kandahar.

No one has claimed responsibility for the abduction of the 49-year-old unidentified burqa-clad woman who was seized from her car along with her driver while heading for work on Saturday.

"We have had no luck so far and the search continues," said one official who requested to remain anonymous.

The woman had been living for years in a rented house in Kandahar, part of the main stronghold of Taliban insurgents who have been behind a series of abductions of foreigners and Afghans in recent years.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said he had no information if the Islamic movement which is fighting against the foreign troops and Afghan government was behind the abduction.

"It is not clear as to who has done this. So far, our friends have not said any thing to me about it (wether Taliban have kidnapped her or not)," he told Reuters by phone from an undisclosed location.

Apart from the Taliban, criminal gangs have also carried out kidnappings. No one has claimed responsibility for the latest kidnapping and Afghan officials say unidentified gunmen were behind it.

Writing by Sayed Salahuddin; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani