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Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Kidnapped Red Cross staff released in Afghanistan after seven months

Reuters , Tuesday 5 Sep 2017
Afghanistan
Afghan mourners carry the coffin of one of the six Afghan employees of the Red Cross in Mazar-e Sharif on February 9. (Photo: AFP)
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 Two Red Cross staff members kidnapped early this year in Afghanistan have been released, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Tuesday.

The two were abducted on Feb. 8 while delivering assistance in Jawzjan province, in the north of the country, on the border with Turkmenistan.

Six of their colleagues were killed in the attack, which prompted the ICRC to suspend operations in Afghanistan for a time.

"We are relieved and grateful that our colleagues are now back with us unharmed," the ICRC head of delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli, said in a statement.

At the time of the attack, officials in the area blamed Islamic State gunmen but the ICRC said it would not comment on the identity of the abductors, their motives or details of the release.

Kidnapping has been a major problem in Afghanistan for many years. Most victims are Afghans abducted for ransom but foreigners or Afghans working for foreign organisations have also been targeted.

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