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Search for 45 missing people halted

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 4:27 am

The National Committee for Search and Rescue has halted the search for 22 people on the BV 4248TS and 23 others, on the Phu Tan vessel.

The search for 45 missing people, including 23 on the Phu Tan Vessel (in the photo) has been ‘called off’ after one week of searching (Photo: Lao Dong)

In a document sent to navy and army forces, the committee permitted them to end the weeklong search. The two vessels with 45 people on board were found missing at sea, due to bad weather and strong northeasterly winds.


According to the High Command of Border Guard, for the 45 people to survive in the rough sea for this long time, is extremely low.


The northeasterly winds have left 7 dead and 45 missing. In addition, 25 boats have been sunk and 20 others have been damaged.


Meanwhile, rescue forces have not yet had contact with another boat.


In the last few days, the rescue officials and workers have saved 20 boats with 130 people, and guided other 14 with 226 men to safety.


On Wednesday, seven fishermen on the fishing boat BĐ 96321-TS, which sank 95 kilometers east of Song Tu Tay Island,  were taken to Cam Ranh Port in Khanh Hoa Province.


Related articles:
Northeasterly winds cause havoc for central residents
Seven fishing boats sunk in Vung Tau
Two of five missing fishermen found dead in Thua Thien-Hue

Source: SGGP

Shanghai fire toll at 53 as relatives search for the missing

In Uncategorized on November 16, 2010 at 4:55 am

Yang Bay attracts tourists in search of natural paradise

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm




Yang Bay attracts tourists in search of natural paradise


QĐND – Friday, October 29, 2010, 23:19 (GMT+7)

Yang Bay in the central province of Khanh Hoa is famed for its pristine beauty, expansive forests, and glassy waterfalls – in fact the superlatives go on and on.


Duong Le Na, an overseas Vietnamese from the US and her friends recently decided to travel to the site. When they arrived at Yang Bay she was beside herself with joy.


“On the stone steps of the gentle slope we started our journey to Yang Bay waterfall. The fresh air the cool water, I’m in ecstasy,” she wrote in an e-mail to a friend. ‘


“The quite beatitude is broken by the roaring of the waterfall. The waterfall feeds into several small lakes below, of which the deepest is 16m. My friends and I immediately drived into the water to enjoy the coolness. We are all in agreement that this is the most beautiful place on earth,” Na wrote.


Yang Bay means “heaven’s waterfall” in the language of the Gia Rai people, one of the 53 ethnic groups in Vietnam .


The river begins at a spring some 2km higher up in the mountains. It plunges down several waterfalls into a one-metre deep crystal clear pool.


The two other major waterfalls in the area are Yang Khang and Hocho. After a refreshing dip, visitors can relax in a natural hot spring.


Yang Bay waterfall is also famed for the “lithophone” that has been erected – iron wires fastened to the cliff that play as the water passes over it.


Gia Rai residents are proud of their musical ability and are only too happy to entertain visitors. They play traditional instruments such as the chapi, t’rung, tacung flute, taleploi clarinet and the dan da (stone instrument).


Situated in Khanh Vinh District’s Khanh Phu Commune, Yang Bay waterfall forms part of the 57ha Yang Bay Tourism Park .


Locals put on a variety of activities to entertain tourists, such as pig racing and crossbow shooting. There is also a 4,500sq. m bear farm. Visitors can also feed crocodiles.


Na’s friend Ken Jones was particularly taken by the crocodile farm. “Feeding the crocodiles was fun but terrifying,” he said.


Na meanwhile fell in love with the orchid gardens.


“I have lived far from my homeland for more than 30 years. I can’t believe how beautiful and pristine this place is,” she said.


After the orchid gardens Na and her friends listened to locals playing the dan da and t’rung, which consists of five to seven pieces of bamboo of varying length that are tied together with two parallel cords. It can be rolled up. When played it is hung from a metal frame. The musician strikes the bamboo with two to four rods. The sound of the t’rung is reminiscent of running water.


“At the end of the evening, we relaxed by a campfire and sampled local culinary delicacies such as grilled crocodile and steamed bamboo filled with minced pork. Ostrich is another popular local dish,” said Na.


To get to Yang Bay from Nha Trang City you must pass through Dien Khanh town and several villages.


Yang Bay reserve occupies 570ha and is famed for its virgin forest. It is known as Gia Rai in the local language.


Entrance tickets cost 30,000 VND for adults and 15,000 VND for children. English speaking tour guides cost 100,000 VND per hour, while Vietnamese language guided cost 50,000 VND per hour, said tourism official Hoang Van Khanh, who works for Khotoco Co.


The 800m tree-lined path to the centre is a festooned with flowers and creepers. The foot weary can catch an electric bus for 10,000 VND.


For those wanting to take a dip in Yang Khang Waterfall, swimming costumes can be hired for 60,000 VND to 70,000 VND. Floats cost 5,000 VND.


Just under a kilometre away is the Hocho Waterfall.


Yang Bay welcomes thousands of visitors each year.


“We plan to invest billions of dong in Yang Bay . We want to build a mud bath and a high-end resort,” Khanh said with a smile surveying the beautiful countryside. “Then more people will be able to enjoy the nature and the loveliness of the reserve.


Source: VNA


 


Source: QDND

Vietnam intensifies search for missing boat

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm




Vietnam intensifies search for missing boat


QĐND – Saturday, October 16, 2010, 20:49 (GMT+7)

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem on October 15 chaired a meeting with relevant ministries and branches on furthering search and rescue efforts for fishing boat QNg 66478 TS and its nine-member crew.

The boat and nine fishermen onboard were captured by China on September 11, 2010, and released, as the Chinese side reported, on October 11. However, have been no communications with the boat and its crew since then.

“The Party and State are very keenly watching this incident” and, “in the meantime, the most important duty is to concentrate on searching and rescuing the fishermen,” Khiem said.

He instructed ministries, responsible branches and localities to mobilise all forces, including the navy, the border guard, maritime police, search and rescue forces and civil boats, in the search for the missing boat and its crew.

The Deputy PM also asked the Foreign Ministry to continue requests for China to cooperate in the search and create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese side’s search and rescue operation.

He required the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the People’s Committee of the central province of Quang Ngai to provide assistance to the families of the fishermen.

Coupled with the measures undertaken by the Foreign Ministry on recent days, Vietnamese authorised agencies and localities have actively searched for the vessel.

On October 14, the Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue requested Border Guard Command inform its forces stationed at coastal cities and provinces as well as Vietnamese fishermen currently operating in the East Sea to cooperate in the search.

On October 15, the Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue issued a maritime search and rescue announcement for Boat QNg 66478 TS.

By 18:00 hrs of October 15, Boat QNg 66478 TS was yet to arrive in Ly Son and Vietnamese authorised agencies, localities and families of the fishermen were yet to communicate with the boat and its crew.

On the afternoon of October 15, a representative of the Vietnamese embassy in China met with a representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry to discuss the issue.

At the meeting, the Chinese side said the Chinese agencies have on the afternoon of Oct. 14 launched a patrol ship search on the route that the Quang Ngai boat was expected to use to return home.

From the beginning of the afternoon of Oct. 15, the Chinese side also launched a helicopter search for the boat and it will inform the Vietnamese side immediately if there is a result.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

VN asks China to coordinate in search for missing vessel

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm




VN asks China to coordinate in search for missing vessel


QĐND – Friday, October 15, 2010, 21:7 (GMT+7)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on October 14 sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy, once again requesting coordination in search for Boat QNg 66478TS and its nine-member crew as well as provision of any information.


The request was announced by MoFA Spokesperson Nguyen Phuong Nga at the ministry’s regular press briefing in Hanoi on the same day.


According to the spokesperson, on September 11, 2010, the Chinese captured Boat QNg-66478TS and nine Vietnamese fishermen onboard within the territorial waters of Vietnam ’s Hoang Sa (Paracels) archipelago.


Immediately after receiving the news, competent Vietnamese agencies investigated the case and found that the fishermen were legally fishing offshore Hoang Sa archipelago when they were seized. The boat was only carrying nomal  fishing equipment such as nets and floodlights.


MoFA had contacted its Chinese partners at different levels in Hanoi and Beijing to seek solutions to the issue.


Earlier, the ministry sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese Embassy saying that China ’s seizure of the Vietnamese vessel and its fishermen while they were legally fishing in the Vietnamese territorial waters seriously violated Vietnam ’s sovereignty and sovereign rights. The ministry also demanded the Chinese side immediately and unconditionally release the fishing vessel and fishermen.


On October 9, China decided to release Boat QNg 66478TS. The boat and its nine fishermen, as reported by the Chinese side, departed at 1.00 pm on October 11.


However, until the morning of October 13, neither the boat nor the fishermen returned home . The MoFA representatives met Chinese Embassy staff in Vietnam , asking the Chinese side to join hands with Vietnamese competent agencies to seek the boat and the fishermen.


In the evening of October 13, the Chinese Embassy said that when releasing the Vietnamese boat and fishermen, the Chinese had provided them with sufficient fuel and other necessities for their return journey. Boat QNg 66478TS left port at 1.00 pm on October 11 and then, it came back to ask for more fuel and the Chinese side agreed.


The Chinese agencies also advised the Vietnamese fishermen to stay for several days because of a tropical depression in the East Sea . However, the fishermen decided to depart and committed in writing that they would be fully responsible for their decision. The boat and fishermen set off in the evening of October 11.


The Chinese Embassy said that it would ask competent Chinese agencies to coordinate in search for the boat and fishermen.


Source: VNA


Source: QDND

China launches global search for six panda keepers

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 11:22 am

A Chinese panda centre said Tuesday it had launched a global search for six people who would spend a month looking after the endangered animals, as part of an awareness and conservation campaign.


“Project Panda,” launched by the Chengdu Panda Base in the southwestern province of Sichuan and the WWF, aims to give six winners of a global contest a chance to study pandas’ behaviours and provide hands-on assistance.


The keepers will be able to witness the birth of baby pandas and their development, the base said in an email to AFP.


“We hope that through this project more and more people will join our mission to protect pandas and will realise the importance of preserving wild habitats,” said Zhang Zhihe, head of the Chengdu Panda Base.

A giant panda rests at a panda reserve in Chengdu, southwest China’s Sichuan province. Pandas are viewed as a national treasure in China

The winners will also trek into the mountains around Chengdu, Sichuan’s capital, to study wild pandas in their natural habitat, and will report on their daily work by blogging to people around the world, the base said.


Over the next six weeks, animal lovers from around the world will be able to log onto a website, http://www.pandahome.com, to apply for the position. A panel of experts will select 12 finalists, which they will then whittle down to six.


There are just 1,600 pandas left in the wild and nearly 300 others are in captive-bred programmes worldwide, mainly in China, according to official reports.


After having successfully managed to make the animals mate in captivity, researchers are now looking at ways to send captive-bred pandas into the wild to boost the number of animals roaming free.


Four pregnant pandas bred in captivity were released into an area of Sichuan forest last month to prepare their future cubs for life in the wild, state media reported.


But this task is a difficult one, and so far, the only attempt at releasing a captive-bred panda into nature has ended tragically.


Xiang Xiang, a male cub who was trained to adapt to the wild and released in 2006, was found dead 10 months later, apparently killed by wild pandas native to the area.

Source: SGGP

Search for missing in Indian Himalayas after floods kill 137

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2010 at 7:25 am

LEH, India, Aug 9, 2010 (AFP) – Emergency teams in India’s remote Himalayan region of Ladakh on Sunday struggled to deliver food and aid to survivors of flash floods that killed at least 137 people and left 500 missing.


A cloudburst on Friday caused devastating floods that swept away roads, buildings, bridges and power cables in a tide of rock and mud. Rescuers fear many more victims may have died after being buried.


Thousands of residents in Leh, the main town of Ladakh in the Indian-controlled sector of Kashmir, abandoned houses hit by the mud flows and moved to higher ground where they slept in the open despite the cold.

Indian army personnel rest after setting up a temporary bridge at Choglamsar village in Leh on August 8, 2010. AFP

Indian soldiers, police and paramilitary troops led the relief operation on Sunday, sifting through destroyed homes and providing basic medical care to those injured.


Tourists visiting the region and local Buddhist monks also helped in the clearance and rescue work, which was hampered by a lack of heavy-lifting equipment and the severe mountain terrain.


“We now have 137 confirmed deaths and over 400 injured,” a police officer in Leh told AFP, asking not to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.


He said the village of Choglamsar, on the outskirts of the town, had been swamped by mudslides and many residents were feared dead.


Leh, situated in an arid mountain desert at an altitude of 3,505 metres (11,500 feet), receives virtually no rainfall all year and has no planned drainage system.


The main hospital was badly damaged in the floods and makeshift medical centres dealt with scores of patients on Sunday.


“Children with broken bones have been carried here, and many people say the water just took away everything in its path,” an AFP photographer at the scene said.


“The army are trying to arrange distribution of emergency supplies and to set up relief camps, and soldiers have begun erecting temporary bridges where bridges have disappeared,” he said.


Communication links with the area remained patchy and Leh was without mains electricity. Landslides blocked the two roads to the area via Srinagar, the main town in Indian Kashmir, and via the Manali-Leh highway.


Six planes carrying military emergency teams arrived at the damaged Leh airport on Saturday, along with specialist medical units and five tonnes of medicine flown in from the national capital New Delhi.


Ladakh is a highly militarised area because of sensitive border disputes with both Pakistan and China. It is also renown for its Buddhist culture, while its mountains and rivers attract international adventure tourists.


“On Saturday we rescued some seven foreigners from the Batalik sector of Ladakh, and the search is on to trace if there are any others missing,” army spokesman J.S. Brar told AFP.


Kashmir’s tourism chief Farooq Shah told AFP there were no reports of any foreign casualties.


“There is no death of foreigners in Leh town but we are trying our best to collect information about tourists who had gone out to villages and up into the mountains,” Shah said.


Special flights were laid on Sunday to carry tourists to Delhi from the stricken area and more are planned for Monday, according to the Press Trust of India.


The US and United Kingdom have urged their citizens to avoid travel to Leh.


The floods came as neighbouring Pakistan suffered the worst flooding in its history with 15 million people affected and at least 1,600 people killed.

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Source: SGGP

Monsoon hampers Pakistan black box search

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 3:20 am

 Monsoon rain and clouds on Thursday hampered the search for the black box of a Pakistani airliner that slammed into hilly woodland killing all 152 people on board, the nation’s worst aviation disaster.


The Airblue passenger jet crashed in a ball of flames, disintegrating in the forested Margalla Hills overlooking the Pakistani capital in heavy rain and poor visibility on Wednesday while trying to land after flying from Karachi.


Pakistan observed a day of mourning, but questions focused increasingly on why the pilot had been flying the Airbus 321 so low over the craggy hills in a restricted flight zone while making his approach to land.

Pakistani rescue workers search at the site of the wreckage of a crashed passenger plane on the day after the accident in The Margalla Hills on the outskirts of Islamabad.

Helicopters were grounded because of poor visibility, rain and clouds, and the black box had yet to be located, officials said.


Investigators hope the flight data recorder will give clues to the fate of the 10-year-old Airbus, which was piloted by an experienced captain.


Officials called off the search for human remains and civil aviation teams left the crash site around dusk.


“So far we could not find the black box, heavy rain continued at the crash site, the terrain is also very slippery,” Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Pervez George told AFP.


He could not say if the search would resume on Friday.


“It all depends on the weather. We are not sure when the weather will allow us to resume the search,” he said.


At least one relative arrived at the base camp Thursday saying he wanted to look for the remains of his brother, but was turned away.


“We told him the terrain is difficult and the weather bad. Even rescue teams find it difficult to reach the crash site. We also told him the remains had been taken to the hospital. He then left,” said Islamabad city administration official Rawal Khan.


Two Americans, an Austrian-born businessman, five children and two babies were among the 152 people on board flight ED 202.


Junaid Ameen, head of Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority, called on rescue teams not to touch the wreckage, which could be invaluable in determining whether a technical fault or bad weather was to blame.


A team from European company Airbus was to assist with the investigation, he said, refusing to speculate on reports that air traffic control may have asked the pilot to divert.


“It is the prerogative of the pilot to decide, keeping the situation in view. The air traffic controller can only advise him.


“The incident shows that the pilot was in an emergency-like situation that led him to enter the restricted area,” he said, refusing to comment further.


The plane broke apart in a gorge between two hills, scattering debris across hillsides enveloped in cloud and located some distance from the nearest road.


It was the worst aviation tragedy on Pakistani soil in history, piling more woes on a country on the frontline of the war on Al-Qaeda and where Islamist militant bombers have killed more than 3,570 people in the past three years.

Pakistani flags flew at half mast from all public buildings out of respect for the dead. Businesses took out advertisements in the national press to honour colleagues who were killed or to express condolences.

US President Barack Obama offered his “deepest condolences”. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply saddened” and China’s President Hu Jintao also conveyed his condolences.

Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told reporters that the remains of 115 bodies had been recovered and that it could take up to a week to identify the most charred remains, while urging relatives to be patient.

“It is a tragedy, a great tragedy. The cause of the crash is a technical issue and anything said about the cause at this time is speculation. Everything will be clear after the inquiry,” Kaira said.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters that 66 bodies had been handed over to relatives so far. Authorities set up an office to collect blood samples from relatives in order to identify remains with DNA tests.

Airblue, one of Pakistan’s most respected airlines, was tight-lipped about any possible technical fault or pilot error.

Reports that the pilot was told to take another route were mere speculation, company spokesman Raheel Ahmad told AFP.

The only deadlier civilian plane crash involving a Pakistani jet occurred when a PIA Airbus A300 crashed into a cloud-covered hillside on approach to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu in 1992, killing 167 people.

Source: SGGP

Pakistan mourns as rains hamper black box search

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2010 at 11:18 am

ISLAMABAD, July 29, 2010 (AFP) – Pakistan observed a day of mourning Thursday for the 152 people killed in the country’s worst aviation disaster, as heavy rains delayed the search for the aircraft’s black box.


The Airblue passenger jet from Karachi crashed in a ball of flames, killing everyone on board and disintegrating in the heavily forested Margalla hills outside the Pakistani capital during heavy rain and poor visibility.

A Pakistani police commando watches rescue operations in the Margala Hills close to Islamabad on July 28, 2010. AFP

Pakistani flags were to fly at half mast from all public buildings on Thursday in mourning for the dead.


US President Barack Obama offered his “deepest condolences” to the families and friends of those killed. UN chief Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply saddened” by the tragedy and China’s President Hu Jintao also conveyed his condolences.


“Rescue teams will resume the search operation as soon as it stops raining as we still have to find the black box,” police official Bani Amin told AFP.


Investigators hope the flight data recorder will give clues to the fate of the 10-year-old Airbus which was piloted by an experienced captain.


The government said all possible causes would be investigated, including terrorism, bad weather and sabotage, although officials gave no indication that an attack might have been to blame.


Many of the victims were charred beyond recognition or ripped to pieces, forcing health officials to use DNA tests and ID documentation to identify them.


“Our main concern is to find identification papers and other belongings of the passengers, which will greatly help identify the bodies lying in the hospitals,” said Amin, who has been supervising the rescue operation.


“We may also find some body pieces during the search but it all depends how quickly it stops raining,” he said.


Two Americans, an Austrian-born businessman and seven children were among the 152 people on board flight ED 202 from the southern city of Karachi.


The Airbus 321 was coming in to land at Islamabad’s Benazir Bhutto International airport when witnesses saw it flying at an unusually low altitude before hearing a deafening boom.


The plane broke apart into a gorge between two hills, scattering debris in three directions on hillsides enveloped in cloud and some distance from the road, severely hampering initial rescue efforts on Wednesday.


“I saw a big ball of smoke and fire everywhere with big pieces of aircraft rolling down the hill,” police official Haji Taj Gul said.


“Nobody survived,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik told Express TV. “It’s a big tragedy. It’s really a big tragedy.”


Authorities suggested the flight had been diverted due to bad weather, but it was unclear why the jet was flying so low and close to the Margalla Hills — off the normal route for aircraft arriving from Karachi.


Rescue official Arshad Javed told AFP of horrifying scenes at the crash site after the routine commuter flight turned to carnage.


“All we could see were charred hands or feet. I collected two heads, two legs and two hands in a bag,” he said.


“We shouted if anyone was there alive, but heard no voice.”


Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed his grief over the “tragic incident” and offered prayers for the dead.


Airbus said the single-aisle plane was a relatively young 10 years old, and the European company offered its full assistance to Pakistani investigators.


Airblue is one of Pakistan’s most respected airlines. It has been operating since 2004, using new Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft on domestic routes and international services to Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Manchester.


Wednesday’s crash was the worst in Pakistan. The only deadlier civilian plane crash involving a Pakistani jet saw a PIA Airbus A300 crash into a cloud-covered hillside on approach to Kathmandu, killing 167 people in 1992.

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Source: SGGP

Search on for 2 US soldiers missing in Afghanistan

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2010 at 11:18 am

A US soldier from 1st Platoon Bravo Troop of 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry walks past Afghans on a three-wheeler vehicle during a patrol in the Dand district of Kandahar Province in Afghanistan.

An extensive ground and air search was underway Sunday for two American soldiers who went missing in Taliban territory in Afghanistan, military officials said, amid fears one of them had been killed.


Nothing had been heard of the two, an official from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) told AFP.


“They are still missing, we have had no contact with anybody so far, so we cannot confirm what has happened to them,” the official, who asked not to be indentified, told AFP.


“There is no confirmation that they are dead or have been kidnapped,” he said, adding: “There are rumours that one of them is dead.”


Another ISAF official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier there were reports one of the pair had been killed and his body removed from the scene, in eastern Logar province where Taliban have a solid presence.


US media reports suggested the two may have left their base, in Charkh district, without permission.


They had been missing since about 8 pm (1530 GMT) on Friday and their car had been recovered in an area it should not have been, the officials said.


Local radio stations in Logar, south of Kabul, broadcast descriptions of the pair and offered rewards of ten thousand dollars for information leading to the safe recovery of each man, an AFP correspondent in the province said.


An ISAF statement issued almost 24 hours after the pair disappeared said they had left their compound late Friday “and did not return”.


“Nobody has been found but there are reports that there may be a casualty and that the body has been removed from the scene,” one of the ISAF officials said.


All reports were unsubstantiated, he added.


A Taliban spokesman denied the insurgents were behind the disappearance of the soldiers, though earlier he had contacted media outlets with detailed descriptions of the soldiers and the equipment they were carrying.


Speaking to AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location, the Taliban’s eastern Afghanistan spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said: “So far, we are not aware of it and cannot confirm this”.


A spokesman for Logar’s provincial governor said the two soldiers left their base in Charkh district late Friday “and went to opposition territory”.


“One of them has been killed and the other has been detained by the opposition,” Din Mohammad Darwaish told AFP, referring to the Taliban.


The BBC quoted Darwaish as saying the pair had been warned not to venture into what was known Taliban territory, and had found themselves in a gun battle with insurgents, after which they were captured.


Kidnappings of foreign soldiers are rare in Afghanistan, where a nine-year insurgency has been escalating in recent months, particularly in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.


Most kidnappings in recent years have been by criminals for ransom, though targets identified as high value have in the past been sold on to insurgent groups, who then use them as political pawns.

A 24-year-old US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared on June 30, 2009 is believed to have been the first American snatched by militants in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl’s captors have released at least two videos showing him to be alive, most recently in April.

The Taliban warned earlier this year they would target foreign military and government installations and staff, as well as Afghans working for them or for the Kabul government.

NATO said four US soldiers were killed by a bomb in southern Afghanistan on Saturday while a fifth American died in a later attack.

Both attacks involved improvised-explosive devices, or IEDs, the main weapon deployed by the Taliban in their insurgency.

The deaths bring to 397 the toll of foreign soldiers killed in the war so far this year, compared with 520 for all of 2009.

An AFP tally based on that kept by the icasualties.org website puts the number of soldiers to have died since the Afghan insurgency began in 2001 at 1,965, with 1,205 of them Americans.

The US and NATO have almost 150,000 troops in Afghanistan, with the surge of an extra 30,000 Americans ordered by US President Barack Obama almost fully deployed, most of them in the hotspots of Kandahar and Helmand.

Source: SGGP