A German woman was shot dead and a Finnish woman is feared kidnapped in the Afghan capital Kabul when unidentified gunmen launched an attack on a guesthouse run by Swedish NGO Operation Mercy. Both females, whose identities have not been released, are employees of the Sweden-based organisation.

A private security guard at the guesthouse was reportedly beheaded by the attackers when they stormed the guesthouse late on Saturday, 20 May. Afghan interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish confirmed the raid, adding that an investigation was underway to find the missing woman.

Danish said all those who were present in the guesthouse at the time of the attack were the staff of Operation Mercy. The relief and development organisation has not yet released any statement on the incident.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. Afghan security personnel are at the scene conducting a preliminary investigation. For long, Germany has been warning its citizens who travel to Afghanistan.

The war-torn Afghanistan is witnessing a sharp rise in Islamist insurgency and kidnappings have become routine. Extremists use kidnappings to demand ransom or to put pressure on foreign governments. About 100 foreigners have been kidnapped since 2001. As many aid workers have become easy targets for the insurgents, agencies have been forced to move out of Kabul to the outskirts.

Afghan security forces
Afghan forces have come under increasing attacks from Taliban Reuters