Abducted Australian woman set free in Afghanistan

Katherine Jane Wilson was grabbed in the city of Jalalabad, close to the border with Pakistan, in late April

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An Australian aid worker who was kidnapped in Afghanistan four months ago has been freed and is “safe and well”, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Monday.

Katherine Jane Wilson, who goes by the name Kerry and is reportedly aged around 60, was grabbed in the city of Jalalabad, close to the border with Pakistan, in late April.


She had been visiting the city for a women’s embroidery project when gunmen abducted her, Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital, told AFP at the time.

He said she was taken before dawn from the home in which she was staying by “unidentified gunmen” who were disguised as police.

“I confirm that Kerry Jane Wilson, who was abducted in Afghanistan in April this year, has been released, and she is now safe and well,” Bishop said in a statement.

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.

“I deeply appreciate the work of the authorities in Afghanistan whose support and assistance facilitated her release, as well as Australian consular staff who continue to provide assistance to Ms Wilson and her family,” Bishop said.

But she added: “To protect those who remain captive or face the risk of kidnapping in Afghanistan and elsewhere, the government will not comment on the circumstances of Kerry Jane’s release.”

No details were given in Bishop’s statement of when Wilson, reportedly a veteran aid worker, was released or where she was taken to safety.

When she was abducted in April, Wilson’s 91-year-old father Brian Wilson said his daughter had worked in the region with charities related to women’s rights and water security for more than 20 years.

“I presume she’s a hostage, and that they’ll do their best to keep her alive and not harm her, simply because they want to have something or other in return and it’s not very good having a dead hostage,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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