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Mystery shrouds 'German' nabbed in Afghanistan raid

Foreigner in video says he is researcher; Afghan government claims he is suspected militant; German government tight-lipped

Mystery shrouds 'German' nabbed in Afghanistan raid

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan

Mystery shrouds the identity of a foreigner who claims to be a German national nabbed after a night raid on a Taliban hideout in a remote area in southern Helmand province.

Afghan officials on Thursday said the “German” was taken into custody Wednesday following a raid on Taliban’s improvised explosives device manufacturing facility in the province.

Ministry of Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Dawlat Waziri told Anadolu Agency the arrest took place in the restive Gresh district’s Mirmandab area. Three people, including the foreigner, were detained along with weapons and ammunition.

Four vehicles, a depot of ammunitions, a depot of bombs and some other materials which belonged to the militants were also destroyed, Waziri added.

However, it remains unclear on what documentary evidence such as passport etc. did the Afghan government confirm that the foreigner was a German.

In a viral social media video and pictures, the nabbed foreign suspect can be seen wearing traditional Afghan clothes and sporting a long beard. He tells Afghan commandos in the video that he had been in Afghanistan for a year.

“I am Muhajir [refugee/migrant] ... I am doing research on Islamic way of life. I have been here for almost a year,” he can be heard saying in the video.

German newspaper Die Welt said the suspect was a convert to Islam called "Thomas K" from Rhineland-Palatinate, near Frankfurt. He is said to have been known to officials since 2009.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the “German man” calls himself Abdul Wadood.

Anadolu Agency approached the German Embassy in Kabul for comment, but there was no response. So far, the German government has not commented on the incident.

The Germany Embassy in Kabul has been closed in the capital since a massive truck bombing last year left over 150 people dead.

Separately, Afghan forces said they killed at least 18 foreign militants, including two Frenchmen, associated with a network of pro-Daesh militants in northern Jawzjan province bordering Turkmenistan.

Ammanullah Aman, police chief for the restive district, told local Salam Afghanistan radio that the militants, mainly from Central Asia, were killed in an operation last night.

Apart from the eastern Nangarhar and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan, Jawzjan is another spot in the war-ravaged country where the pro-Daesh militants are said to have significant presence.

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