Female Hostages Released In Afghanistan and Iraq

Three United Nations election workers, two women and a man, were freed unharmed this morning after being abducted from a United Nations vehicle last month in Afghanistan. Shqipe Hebibi from Kosova, Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, and Angelito Nayan, a Filipino diplomat, were kidnapped on a busy street in Kabul by armed men on October 28. They were the first foreigners abducted in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Their abductions raise fear that they could be the start of a string of deadly kidnappings that are similar to what has been occurring in Iraq.

Meanwhile, a Polish woman who was abducted in Iraq last month has also been freed. Teresa Borcz-Khalifa, a resident of Iraq for 30 years, was kidnapped from her home by the Abu Bakr al-Seddiq Salafist Brigades, reports Reuters. Last week, Margaret Hassan, a humanitarian aid worker with CARE International and long-time resident of Iraq, was killed. A mutilated body of a Western woman was found in Falluja that has still not been identified.

Several leading international aid organizations have suspended operations in Iraq as a result of the increased attacks against aid workers, including CARE International, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Rescue Committee.

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The Associated Press 11/23/04; Reuters 11/23/04, 11/20/04; Feminist Daily News Wire 11/17/04, 1028/04; LA Times 11/21/04

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