Afghan special forces have rescued a kidnapped Australian aid worker, four months after she was taken at gunpoint in the country’s volatile east. Katherine Jane Wilson, said to be aged around 60, is “safe and well”, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, without disclosing when she was released or who was behind her abduction. The minister, who has previously said Australia does not pay ransom for kidnappers, voiced relief for Wilson and her family but would not provide details of how she was freed.
Unidentified masked gunmen kidnapped Wilson from Jalalabad, near the border with Pakistan, in late April when she was visiting the city for a women’s embroidery project. Wilson, a well-known aid worker in the country, ran a non-governmental organisation known as Zardozi, which promotes the work of Afghan artisans — particularly women.
Following her abduction an Australian man was seized, along with an American colleague, in Kabul by gunmen wearing police uniforms. The two foreigners, professors from the American University of Afghanistan, were pulled from their vehicle earlier this month after the kidnappers smashed the passenger side window and hauled them out.
Judith D’Souza, a 40-year-old Indian employee of the Aga Khan Foundation, a prominent NGO that has long worked in Afghanistan, was also abducted near her residence in the heart of Kabul on June 9. She was rescued in July.
The abductions underscore the growing dangers faced by foreigners in Afghanistan, plagued by Taliban and other militant groups.