International forces searching for a British man abducted three days ago in western Afghanistan found a body Saturday that they believe is his, British officials said.
Authorities were investigating how and when David Addison died, according to a statement issued by Kim Howells, a British Foreign Office official.
"The family are very distressed and upset to learn of David's death. David was a very loving husband and father, and he will be sorely missed," Howells said.
Earlier in the week, a purported Taliban spokesman, Abdul Latif Hakimi, asserted responsibility for Addison's kidnapping on behalf of the group. He said at the time that Addison was slightly injured in the hand when he was ambushed and that a Taliban council, or shura, would decide what would happen to him. The whereabouts of Addison's interpreter, an Afghan, remained unknown.
Howells condemned the Taliban for the kidnapping and killing.
Addison and his interpreter were seized by gunmen in western Farah province Wednesday while traveling in a convoy along a major road linking Kandahar with the western city of Herat. Three Afghan police officers guarding the convoy were killed in the ensuing firefight, and one of the gunmen was arrested, according to Afghan officials quoted by news services.
British authorities have declined to release Addison's age, profession or reason for being in Afghanistan, citing his family's request for privacy. Afghan officials have alternately described Addison as an engineer working on a road construction project, the employee of a security company guarding construction crews and a truck driver.
The discovery of the body came as fighters continued their campaign of almost daily attacks. On Saturday, fighters ambushed and kidnapped a district government chief, a candidate in upcoming parliamentary elections and three other people in the southern province of Kandahar, according to news services.
Hakimi said the Taliban kidnapped the five people but that they had been killed, according to the Afghan Islamic Press, a news agency based in Pakistan. In the past, however, Hakimi's claims have often proved untrue or exaggerated.
The insurgents are apparently intent on disrupting the elections, scheduled for Sept. 18. More than 1,100 people have been killed in recent weeks, including four candidates and four election workers, although it is unclear whether the Taliban was responsible in each case.
Also Saturday, Afghan and Japanese authorities announced that dental records revealed that two bodies found this week between Kandahar and the Pakistani border were those of two Japanese tourists missing since Aug. 8, news services reported. Jun Fukusho, 44, and Shinobu Hasegawa, 30, both junior high school teachers, had been shot in the head several weeks ago, officials said. It was not clear who was responsible.