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Obama's Afghan headache


An epidemic of kidnapping adds to the downward spiral of violence the president-elect's team will soon confront in Afghanistan.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Businessman Farzad Kadri holds his body tight like a wrestler, and his suspicious squint makes him seem older than his 28 years. Ever since his brother was kidnapped, shot in both legs and then released after the family paid a hefty ransom, Kadri is on edge, constantly varying his schedule, curtailing his nightlife. "These days, people are being grabbed left and right in Kabul," he said. "I have to watch out."

Abtullah Danishwar, raised in Los Angeles, returned this summer to the city where he was born 29 years ago. Full of dreams and idealism, he intended to stay a couple of years, find a wife, and help in Kabul's reconstruction efforts. But he's already escaped one kidnapping attempt and is unconvinced his luck will hold. "I'm so scared," he said. "I don't think I can stay."

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