Hostages 'freed' in Afghanistan

The three had been helping with October's presidential election

Three foreign UN workers who were taken hostage last month in Afghanistan have been released, officials say.

A senior Afghan official told the BBC one of the kidnappers had been killed and four others seriously wounded in a military operation.

Annetta Flanigan from Northern Ireland, Kosovan Shqipe Habibi and Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan were abducted at gunpoint from Kabul on 28 October.

They had been helping to conduct the recent presidential elections.

The three were released overnight on Monday and were still in Kabul, the Afghan officials said - though their whereabouts were unclear.

Their condition is not known. There has been no confirmation of the release from the UN.


The development follows an unsuccessful raid on two houses aimed at freeing the hostages on Monday morning. Ten 10 people were detained as a result.

American and Afghan soldiers used explosives to smash their way into the houses in the pre-dawn raid, damaging doors and windows.

The three were kidnapped when a group of armed men in camouflage stopped their vehicle, pulled them out and then drove them away at high speed.

A splinter faction of the Taleban, the Army of Muslims, said it was holding them and produced a video showing the hostages slumped against a wall.

The group demanded the release of 26 prisoners in return for their lives.

But a government spokesman expressed doubt about their claims and said it was more likely they were being held by a criminal gang.

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