Alabama woman says her husband was kidnapped in Afghanistan

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- An Alabama man was kidnapped for ransom in Afghanistan while delivering medical supplies last week, his wife told government officials.

The woman reported the abduction to the State Department and the office of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., a longtime friend. A State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the report is being investigated but would not identify the man because of privacy laws.

Rick Dykema, Rohrabacher's chief of staff, identified the man as Clark Russell Bowers, 37, of Harvest, Ala. He said he spoke to Bowers' wife Monday.

"We put his wife in touch with the proper authorities and we understand that they are following up," Dykema said Tuesday.

"We had no independent information on what he was doing" in Afghanistan, Dykema said. "He had been there before and we were told he was trying to deliver humanitarian supplies. We didn't even know of this trip until after his wife called."

Another Rohrabacher aide, Al Santoli, said Bowers visited the congressman's office last fall and that Rohrabacher warned him not to go to Afghanistan. "He's a thrill-seeker in a war zone," said Santoli, the congressman's national security adviser.

The Los Angeles Times said Bowers called his wife, Amanda Bowers, from Afghanistan on Wednesday to report he had been stopped by a group of Afghans and robbed of his belongings, including cash and a satellite phone. The group took him and his interpreter hostage and demanded a ransom, she said.

Mrs. Bowers said her husband was delivering medical supplies and other humanitarian relief. She said her husband is a political consultant who attended and played basketball at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif.

Bowers has known Rohrabacher for years and volunteered on one of his congressional campaigns, Rohrabacher aides said.

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