Australian kidnapped in Afghanistan: Search ongoing

Published May 2nd, 2016 - 02:00 GMT
Australian aid worker Katherine "Kerry" Jane Wilson. (Courtesy photo)
Australian aid worker Katherine "Kerry" Jane Wilson. (Courtesy photo)

Australian diplomats continued working with Afghan authorities Monday in search of an aid worker kidnapped in the eastern city of Jalalabad last week.

The chairman of charity Zardozi, where 60-year-old Katherine “Kerry” Jane Wilson serves as director, said there had been no contact from her captors since identified men claiming to be Afghan intelligence stormed the agency’s office early Thursday.

"In previous cases where internationals have been kidnapped, they can be resolved very quickly, in a matter of days. Sometimes it can extend much longer,” the Sydney Morning Herald daily quoted him as saying.

“I'm not aware that anyone's been contacted by anyone. We're just waiting to get information about where she is or any information from people who claim to be holding [her]," he added.

The Perth Now newspaper cited an Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson as saying that consular officials were cooperating with Afghan authorities, while The Australia reported that investigators were focusing on Zardozi staff.

Eight staff members have reportedly been placed in custody for questioning as police investigate whether Wilson’s whereabouts had been shared with those behind the abduction.

The newspaper quoted local journalists as saying the region was hit by “two or three kidnappings” per month with criminal gangs often demanding ransoms.

Wilson has been living in Afghanistan for 20 years and founded Zardozi, which assists women in developing incomes by selling handicrafts and clothing, in 2005.

Her father Brian Wilson, 91, has told local media in Australia that his daughter was due to fly back to Perth, in Western Australia state, for a 10-day visit last weekend.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia was cooperating closely with Afghan authorities and officials of other countries with representation and resources in the region, such as the United Kingdom.

© Copyright Andolu Ajansi

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