An Afghan man talks on the phone outside the guest house that was stormed by a group of gunmen in Kabul on 21 May, 2017. A Finnish aid worker has been missing since the incident and is presumed to have been kidnapped.

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A Finnish aid worker was kidnapped in Kabul, Afghanistan, late on Saturday.

The aid worker is believed to have been kidnapped after a group of armed men stormed a guest house run by Operation Mercy, an international relief and development organisation based in Sweden, shortly before midnight on Saturday, killing a German woman and an Afghan security guard.

No group has yet to claim responsibility for the attack. The Afghan Interior Ministry has released information indicating that the victim of the kidnapping is a woman, according to the BBC.

The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs has yet to confirm the link between the deaths and the kidnapping but said in a press release that it is investigating the kidnapping in collaboration with military and law enforcement authorities.

“At the moment, the identity of the kidnappers in not known. Finland urges immediate release of the kidnapped person,” a ministry spokesperson said in an earlier press release.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs also revealed that it has successfully contacted the loved ones and employer of the aid worker. No further details of the incident or the people involved in it will be disclosed at this time due to security, privacy and operational reasons, according to the press release.

Operation Mercy, meanwhile, has confirmed that one of its employees, a German national, was killed and that another, a Finnish national, is missing in Kabul.

Andreas Stefansson, a director at the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, described the incident as “horrible and extremely regrettable” in an interview with TT, the national wire service of Sweden, on Sunday. 

“It’s very rare that aid workers are targeted in an attack. But sometimes foreign employees are in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he commented.

Helsingin Sanomat writes, citing a spokesperson for the relief and development organisation, that the kidnapping victim had been in the country for roughly three months and was set to assume their duties as the organisation's deputy country manager in the near future.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs also calls attention to its travel recommendation by pointing out that wealthy foreign citizens can be targeted by kidnappers in Afghanistan. An estimated 35 Finnish civilians and 30 military personnel are currently in the country, according to its press release.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Shah Marai – AFP/Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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