Dutch aid worker held hostage in Afghanistan released

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The Dutch rescue worker who was , has been released after 81 days of captivity, Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs announced on Thursday. She is in good health, according to the Minister.

Anja de Beer was kidnapped on June 22nd in the capital city of Kabul, where she was working for the Afghan office of Swiss aid organization Helvetas. In a conversation with NOS Radio 1 Journaal she told the broadcaster that she has no idea who her kidnappers were. "They said they had ties with the Taliban, but it may simply be a criminal organization." She said that she was chained by her feet, but other than that treated relatively well.

De Beer describes the day of her release as an ordinary day. She was only informed that she would be released about an hour before it actually happened. She has been taken in by the Dutch embassy in Kabul and will return to the Netherlands shortly. Exactly when she could not say yet.

Minister Koenders stated that he is relieved about the good outcome. "The release is good news. I am pleased that an end has come to 81 long days of uncertainty. I have spoken to her. It was an enormous relief that she is in good health."

De Beer has been working in Afghanistan for several years, according to NU. In 2000 and 2001 she led a Red Cross project to help widows and orphans. She then worked for the dome of id organizations in Afghanistan, the ACBAR, for several years and for the UN mission UNAMA. She started working for Helvetas last year.

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