US troops stumble across American lost in Kandahar

The 25-year-old US citizen was reported missing more than two months ago in the war-torn country, the US embassy in Kabul confirmed."In August, we were informed by friends and acquaintances that they had lost contact with a private US citizen. We couldn't locate him," US embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told AFP.

"On October 2, a private US citizen in southern Afghanistan contacted US forces seeking assistance.""The US embassy was immediately contacted and transported the individual to Kabul. Within days, the US citizen was returned home to the US by the embassy," said the spokeswoman.

The US embassy declined to release the man's name or provide any further details about the circumstances of his disappearance.

But according to one American official in Kabul, the man told soldiers and then diplomats that he had been held hostage for two months by the Taliban in the district of Zhari in the southern province of Kandahar.

"It is confusing why he was there. We've talked to him. He's been questioned but it's still confusing," the official said.

"American soldiers were on a patrol when they saw him. He told them he was American and then they brought him to the base."

"Was he abducted? What was he doing there? We have no idea," said the official, saying the man was in "fine health" with only some "scratches" when examined.The Taliban militia have been fighting an insurgency against US-led foreign troops and the Afghan government since the 2001 US-led invasion brought down their regime in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the US.

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