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Dutch aid worker freed in Afghanistan

A Dutch aid worker who was abducted by unknown gunmen in Kabul has been freed after being held for almost three months. Details of the release are unclear.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that aid worker Anja de Beer, who was abducted on June 22, had been freed.

De Beer, who reportedly worked as head of the Swiss aid group Helvetas’ Afghan operations was said to be at the Dutch embassy in Kabul and “doing well under the circumstances.”

She was taken at gunpoint by four armed men, in broad daylight, in an area of the capital popular with foreigners.

The Dutch Foreign Ministry said De Beer had been able to speak with her family, as well as Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders.

“I’m happy that 81 days of uncertainty have come to an end,” said Koenders, in a statement from the ministry.

De Beer, who spent more than 15 years working for several UN agencies, is believed to have been active as an aid worker in the country for several years. The Dutch agency ANP said she had previously worked with the Red Cross from 2000 to 2001, on projects helping widows and orphans.

Although no immediate details were given about De Beer’s release, it is believed to have been the result of weeks of discussions with Afghan authorities, the ministry said.

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