Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni was liberated from her hostages last week and returned to Milan amidst official visits and neighbourhood celebrations. She is in good health and immediately stated that, although she would be returning to Afghanistan, she has decided to take a vacation for the time being.
Cantoni, who worked for the aid organization Care International, was abducted from her car at gunpoint last month in Kabul. In Afghanistan since 2003, she was running a programme supporting more than 10,000 widows and their children. Many of the women who had been helped by Cantoni’s programme staged demonstrations in Kabul for her release.
Cantoni’s captors had kidnapped her in order to trade her liberation for that of one of the abductor’s mothers, who was in prison. Italian and Afghan officials claim that they were able to liberate Cantoni without having to agree to kidnapper’s demands. The abductors seem to have been part of a criminal organisation and were not Islamic militants