Sat, Apr 30, 2016 - Page 6 News List

Australian relief worker seized in Afghanistan: report


An Australian aid worker is believed to have been kidnapped in Afghanistan, Australian officials said yesterday, as her father issued a plea for her safe return.

Canberra was working with Afghan officials to determine exactly what happened to Katherine Jane Wilson, who generally goes by the first name Kerry, Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop told reporters.

“The details of the reports are still being confirmed with the Afghan authorities, but they certainly believe she has been kidnapped,” Bishop said. “We are seeking to confirm all of the details, but we are in communication with her family.”

Ahmad Ali Hazrat, head of the Nangarhar provincial council in Afghanistan, said Wilson was kidnapped on Thursday morning in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Wilson, who is in her 60s, has been living in Afghanistan for years and runs Zardozi, an organization that helps support impoverished Afghan women by selling embroidered items they make.

Brian Wilson, who lives in the Australian city of Perth, pleaded for his daughter to be returned safely, saying she had dedicated much of her life to improving the lives of women in the region.

“I feel extremely worried indeed, but I presume she’s a hostage and that they’ll do their best to keep her alive and not harm her, simply because they want to have something or other in return and it’s not very good having a dead hostage,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Bishop rejected any suggestions of Australia paying for Wilson’s return.

“The Australian government does not, as a matter of policy, pay ransom for kidnappers,” he said.

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