Missing German Hikers Found Shot Dead in Afghan Mountains
Two missing German hikers have been discovered dead near the Salang Pass in Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush Mountains.
The hikers had been missing since August 19 and were killed while hiking in the Afghan province of Parwan. They had bullet wounds in their chests, however, it remains undetermined when the men were killed.
The hikers were found under rocks and wrapped in cloth sacks. The area where the bodies were found is considered to be extremely rugged and remote and was just 2.5 miles from where the foreigners began their hike.
The two foreigners were hiking 62 miles north of the Afghan capital of Kabul. They told their driver that they would be back by 4 p.m., but when they never returned, the driver went to the local police to report them missing.
The bodies were discovered in the late afternoon on Monday, but were not recovered until Tuesday due to the difficulties in recovering the bodies in darkness.
The police chief of the Afghanistan's eastern Parwan province, Sher Ahmad Maladani, told the Associated Press of the bodies, "They have several bullet holes to the chest. We are not sure when they died, but the bodies are in good condition."
The Taliban denied any association with the disappearances that began last month.
Police officials were originally concerned that the hikers were victims of a kidnapping by local insurgents or warlords.
Insurgency groups use kidnapping as a way to fund their war efforts, however, the last case of a kidnapped foreigner in the country dates back to 2009.
The German foreign ministry spokesperson, Andreas Peschka, told the Guardian of the discovered bodies, “I can only say that we are pursuing all angles to clarify the situation as swiftly as possible.”
The recovery of the bodies come on the same day that David Petraeus, the former Commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, was sworn in as the new head of the CIA to direct the U.S. war effort against Al-Qaeda.
Petraeus helped lead America’s war effort in Afghanistan for a year after President Obama nominated him in 2010 to replace former Commander, General Stanley A. McChrystal.