Japanese aid worker missing in Afghanistan

Japanese aid worker missing in Afghanistan

Japanese aid worker missing in Afghanistan

Updated 19 December 2011, 13:48 AEDT

Police are searching mountains in Afghanistan for a Japanese national thought to have been kidnapped by the extremist Taliban.

Earlier, the Afghan interior ministry told reporters 31-year-old Kazuya Ito had been freed in a massive operation around 10 hours after he was snatched in the eastern province of Nangarhar.

However, the Japanese government says it's now been informed the Afghan statement has been retracted and Mr Ito remains missing.

It's feared his kidnapping is the latest in a recent string of attacks on aid workers that have left 25 people dead in the last seven years.

Japan has been a leading donor to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban.