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.
11/25/2015 Afghan Women Launch 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence - Afghanistan marked the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and begun participating in the worldwide 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, which is being called in Afghanistan "Peace from Home to the World." During the launch day's event, which was attended by government officials, including First Lady Rula Ghani and women's rights activists, speakers expressed their commitment to ending violence against women.
First Lady, Rula Ghani gave a speech on ending violence against women and supporting women by stating that "war often leads society towards violence and this violence is in violation of human dignity. . . .