Australia trying to find aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop says diplomats are working to find out what happened to kidnapped Australian humanitarian worker Kerry Wilson.


Ms Wilson reportedly was kidnapped from the offices of Zardozi, an Afghan non-government organisation where she worked.

“We have very experienced diplomats able to handle these conditions,” Ms Bishop told reporters.

“The Australian government does not, as a matter of policy, pay ransom for kidnappers.”

Her father, Brian Wilson, 91, is extremely worried for his daughter, named by ABC as 60-year-old Katherine, also known as Kerry, Jane Wilson.

“Do your level best, come back safe and sound,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.

Ms Wilson was reportedly kidnapped by armed men on Thursday at an office in the eastern city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

“But 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 ABC.

Perth father makes an emotional plea for the return of his aid worker daughter kidnapped in Afghanistan. #perthnews pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/p5Th8u7sJN

— Graeme Powell (@GraemePowell3) April 29, 2016

“She’s on the security network, it’s always dangerous. There’s always peril in the background.

“If she keeps her head down, and is sensible, doesn’t go to places where it’s a target for trouble, then she should be alright.

“You can’t guarantee it, obviously, and this wasn’t a good enough guarantee.”

Ms Wilson had worked in the region for more than 20 years with charities related to women’s rights and water security, he said.

Her LinkedIn account lists her as an executive director with Zardozi, an Afghan non-governmental organisation, which on its website says it helps women in poor urban areas start small businesses selling handicrafts and clothing to shopkeepers and traders.

She was previously chief of programmes with the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan refugees (DACAAR).

She posted on Facebook last year about the work she was doing: “We are working with Afghanistan’s brave women – make today special by supporting our efforts to help them help themselves through this crowd funding site.”

She was also promoting a crowdfunding site to help empower and educate Afghan women

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade late on Thursday said in a statement that “the Australian government is working to confirm the reported kidnapping of an Australian in Afghanistan”.

No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction so far.

Reports of the abduction have differed, with Spanish news agency EFE quoting a state governor’s spokesperson saying it occurred early morning at the office of the non-profit organisation in Jalalabad, capital of the Nangahar province.

The kidnappers wore military uniforms and the employee “worked in the non-profit’s handicrafts department,” Attaullah Khogyanai said.

Other reports say she was staying at the Spin Ghar hotel in Jalalabad and working at a local Afghan aid agency when she was kidnapped.

A security source, requesting anonymity, said police have detained eight suspects, adding the kidnapped woman had not requested protection.

In February, five Afghan employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross were abducted by unidentified armed assailants in southeastern Afghanistan but freed four days later.

Kidnappings, especially for ransom, are a common occurrence in the country, and frequently target employees of humanitarian organisations.