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Abducted UN female staffer released

AT-KABUL: The United Nations in Afghanistan on Thursday says a female staffer and her child who were under four months of hostage have been released.

“The release of the women and her young son is of enormous relief to their loved ones, colleagues and to the entire UN family in Afghanistan,” the UN said in a statement, while expressing outrage at their abduction and the earlier murder of another colleague who was also seized during the same incident.

“We condemn the shameful abduction and what appears to be the deliberate murder of one of our colleagues,” said Ingrid Hayden, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Acting Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). “Our thoughts are with the families most affected by this terrible crime and we urge authorities to do everything within their powers to bring the perpetrators to account.”

The two abducted UN personnel, both Afghan citizens, worked in Kabul with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). They went missing on 22 January 2018 when their vehicle was halted by unknown assailants. The driver’s body was recovered in Kabul on 16 March.

Throughout an extremely difficult period, the UN has worked with the relevant authorities to secure the release of all those abducted, and the UN expresses its appreciation to Afghan law enforcement agencies and all others who assisted in the release.

Afghan nationals make up the vast majority of staff working with the United Nations in Afghanistan. Their professionalism, dedication and the sacrifices they make in the interests of development and security are critical to the building of peace in Afghanistan, the statement added.

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