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All-out efforts to trace kidnapped Indian aid worker

Indian and Afghan officials are coordinating efforts to trace Judith D'Souza, the >Indian aid worker who was kidnapped by gunmen in Kabul on Thursday, even as initial inputs suggest the Aga Khan Foundation staffer could be a victim of the flourishing ransom industry in the strife-torn city. The technical adviser with the NGO was abducted from the upscale Taimani area.

A senior intelligence official said there was no breakthrough so far. “The Afghan government is actively assisting us. We have mobilised all resources,” he said.

“As of now efforts are being made at various levels within the Government of India and the Government of Afghanistan,” said Jerome D’Souza, Ms D’Souza’s elder brother, who is also a well known figure in the non-profit world, and a senior programme manager with the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives in Bengaluru.

Mr D’Souza told PTI that the Ministry of External Affairs was in constant touch with the family.

“A Joint Secretary level officer is coordinating with us. We have full faith in the Indian government and the MEA that they will do the needful in bringing back Judith from Afghanistan,” he said.

Meanwhile, sources in New Delhi said there was no indication yet that Ms D’Souza’s kidnapping was the handiwork of either the Taliban or the Islamic State.

“There is reason to suspect that she has been kidnapped by criminals, in all probability, for money,” an official said.

The Afghan investigators have interviewed the aid worker’s driver, and a few other eyewitnesses. The kidnapping happened around 10 p.m. while Ms D’Souza was in her car, moving from Qala-e-Fatullah to Taimani area, a stretch where there have been numerous kidnappings in the recent past, officials said. And most of them have ended in ransom payments, they added.


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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 9:59:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/All-out-efforts-to-trace-kidnapped-Indian-aid-worker/article14416788.ece

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