Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Pornography without borders is key benefit of EU, says French MEP

Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • Pro-Russia separatists ‘seize’ Ukrainian armoured vehicles

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • Rescue effort under way as ferry sinks off S. Korean coast

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • North Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • Berlusconi sentenced to community service for tax fraud

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

  • US to mark one year since Boston Marathon bombing

    Read more

  • India's Supreme Court establishes third gender category

    Read more

Asia-pacific

NATO forces rescue foreign, Afghan aid workers

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-06-02

NATO special forces rescued two foreign and two Afghan aid workers for the Swiss charity Medair in an overnight raid in Afghanistan's remote Badakhshan province, military sources said Saturday. The aid workers were kidnapped on May 22.

AFP - NATO special forces rescued two foreign women hostages and killed five kidnappers in a daring night raid on a cave in Afghanistan's remote Badakhshan province, the military said Saturday.

The women, who worked for Swiss-based charity Medair, were named as Helen Johnston and Moragwe Oirere. Two Afghan colleagues kidnapped with them on May 22 were also freed unharmed.

All are well and in good condition, Afghan officials told AFP.

"The mission to rescue the hostages was launched in the early hours of today under cover of darkness with the assistance of helicopters," a spokesman for NATO'S International Security Assistance Force said.

"The hostages were being held in a cave in the mountains."

The victims were seized at gunpoint on May 22 while travelling on horseback to relief project sites in the remote and mountainous province of Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan.

They worked for the Swiss-based charity, Medair, which requested restraint in reporting on the kidnap, saying publicity could only jeopardise efforts the secure the relief of their staff.

It is not known what demands the kidnappers had made.

Efforts to obtain comment from the charity Saturday were not immediately successful.

Afghan officials earlier attributed the rescue to Afghan special forces and said three Afghans were among the hostages rescued.

"Last night in a successful operation Afghan special forces freed two foreign and three Afghan hostages in Shahri Buzurg, Badakhshan," Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman for security forces in northern Afghanistan, told AFP.

"Five kidnappers were killed during the operation. The hostages are in good condition," he said.

ISAF commander General John R. Allen thanked the Afghan interior ministry for its "tremendous support throughout this crisis".

He said the mission "exemplifies our collective and unwavering commitment to defeat the Taliban".

"I'm extremely grateful to the Afghan authorities and proud of the ISAF forces that planned, rehearsed, and successfully conducted this operation.

"Thanks to them, Ms. Helen Johnston, Ms. Moragwe Oirere, and their two co-workers will soon be rejoining their families and loved ones."

Badakhshan is an impoverished and mountainous province in Afghanistan's far northeast, and while mainly quiet, there have been pockets of insurgent activity.

Both criminals and Taliban insurgents waging a war against the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai have been responsible for kidnappings in the past, but Allen's comment suggests that the kidnappers in this case were Taliban.

In August 2010, the Taliban claimed responsibility for killing a group of eight medical aid workers in Badakhshan, claiming they were "Christian missionaries".

The rescue shows the vital importance of NATO's air power and highly-skilled special forces in the war against the Taliban. But the alliance will be pulling its combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and is training Afghan forces to take over responsibility for security.
 

Date created : 2012-06-02

  • Afghanistan

    Hollande says 1,400 soldiers to stay on in Afghanistan

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)