British aid worker abducted in Afghanistan: ministry

27th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

The British foreign ministry confirmed Sunday that one of its citizens had been abducted in Afghanistan, amid reports she was an aid worker seized while driving through the northeast of the country.

"We can confirm a British national has been abducted in Afghanistan," a spokeswoman for the Foreign Office in London said, without giving details.

"We are working closely with all the relevant local authorities. We are also in touch with the family and are providing consular assistance."

The BBC and Sky News reported that the person abducted was a woman working for US development group DAI, and she was seized along with three local staff members when their two-vehicle convoy was attacked in Kunar province.

A senior security official told the BBC that insurgents took the group away into nearby mountains following the attack on Sunday morning, and the area was now being searched with the help of tribal elders.

British newspaper reports said police chased after the kidnappers and there was a brief firefight, but they managed to get away.

The woman is reportedly in her 30s and had spent several years working in Afghanistan. She is thought to have previously worked for the United Nations.

DAI spokesman Steven O'Connor confirmed to the Daily Mail that the organisation was treating the incident as a "suspected abduction" and resolving it was their "absolute first priority".

"The evidence does not point towards them getting lost," he said, adding: "The woman who appears to have been kidnapped is one of our veterans. She is a complete professional and has many years of experience."

A 36-year-old British doctor, Karen Woo, was shot dead along with seven other foreign medical aid workers in August in the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan. Two Afghans were also killed in the attack.

© 2010 AFP

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