Development News from Afghanistan

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Bangladeshi hostage freed in Afghanistan: NGO

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Sat Dec 8, 6:45 AM ET

KABUL (AFP) – A Bangladeshi development worker kidnapped in Afghanistan by unknown armed men has been released nearly three months after his abduction, his organisation said Saturday.

Nurul Islam, who works for Bangladesh’s biggest non-government organisation BRAC, was set free by his abductors late Friday and taken into the custody of Afghan authorities, BRAC officials in Kabul and Dhaka said.

He was later handed to the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) in Kabul, head of mission Gunendu Roy told AFP.

“He is keeping more or less ok,” Roy said. “They did not misbehave with him and they have kept him well.”

Islam, 39, was seized in broad daylight on September 15 from a BRAC office in a town about 60 kilometres (37 miles) south of Kabul.

After his abduction, an Afghan television station aired videotape showing a blindfolded man said to be the kidnapped Bangladeshi national and said his abductors threatened to cut off some of his limbs unless a ransom was paid.

It said the men who delivered the tape did not say whether they were with the insurgent Taliban movement, which has been behind a string of abductions of Afghan and foreign nationals in Afghanistan.

Roy said it was still not clear who had abducted Islam.

“We are not sure, but somebody kept him and ultimately he was released through the pressure of the government,” he said, adding his group had paid no ransom.

The Taliban have tried to use hostages to barter with the government and have killed a number of them — mostly Afghans.

Crime has soared in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001, with regular reports of Afghans kidnapped by ransom-seekers.

In Dhaka, BRAC spokesman M. Anwarul Haq said preliminary reports indicated Islam was in good health.

“We enjoy a tremendous amount of goodwill in Afghanistan. We’re the biggest charity there. Persistent pressure by the Afghan government coupled with our request led to Islam’s release,” Haq said.

Brac is the biggest private charity working in the war-torn Afghanistan since 2002. It also operates a bank in the country.

The charity employs 4,700 people, the majority of whom are Afghans, in the health, education and micro-credit sectors.

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Written by afghandevnews

December 9, 2007 at 2:29 am

Posted in Security

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