Kidnapped Indian charity worker rescued in Afghanistan


KABUL: An Indian charity worker kidnapped from Kabul has been rescued, officials said Saturday, more than a month after she was taken at gunpoint in the latest abduction of foreigners in the war-torn country.

Judith D’Souza, a 40-year-old staff member of the Aga Khan Foundation, a prominent NGO that has long worked in Afghanistan, was abducted near her residence in the heart of Kabul on the night of June 9.

“I am happy to inform you that Judith D’Souza has been rescued,” India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter. “D’Souza is with us — safe and in good spirits… I have spoken to Judith. She is reaching Delhi this evening.”

An Afghan security official told Agence France-Presse that D’Souza was rescued in an operation in a district of Kabul on Friday and no ransom was paid.

He added that a criminal gang, and not militants, were behind the abduction, which had prompted desperate pleas from D’Souza’s family to Indian officials on social media.

“Judith has been rescued by the Government. Our family’s joy knows no bounds. Gratitude to (the Indian government),” Jerome D’Souza, a family member, said on Twitter on Saturday.

D’Souza’s abduction came after Katherine Jane Wilson, a well-known Australian NGO worker, was kidnapped on April 28 in the city of Jalalabad, close to the border with Pakistan.

Wilson, said to be aged 60, ran an organisation known as Zardozi, which promotes the work of Afghan artisans, particularly women.

The United States warned its citizens in Afghanistan in May of a “very high” kidnapping risk after an American citizen narrowly escaped abduction in the heart of Kabul.

Aid workers in particular have increasingly been casualties of a surge in militant violence in recent years.

In April last year the bullet-riddled bodies of five Afghan workers for Save the Children were found after they were abducted by gunmen in the strife-torn southern province of Uruzgan. AFP



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