A female Scottish aid worker and three local men working with her are still missing after a suspected kidnapping in Afghanistan on Sunday. The four were kidnapped on Sunday while in a two vehicle convoy in the eastern province of Kunar. While the Scottish woman has not yet been named, the Foreign Office has confirmed a UK citizen is missing and that her family has been contacted.
The woman and the local workers, two drivers and one guard, were working for a US charity, Development Alternatives International also known as DAI, which manages agricultural projects in the Afghanistan area on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development. They were on their way to an opening ceremony for a newly created canal.
The Daily Mail is reporting that the woman is being held by the Taliban and that there has been a demand for exchange to release jailed Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui. Despite the Taliban denying the kidnapping at first they have now claimed responsibility of the abduction through a Taliban commander named Mohammed Osman.
Osman said: “We are lucky that we abducted this British woman so soon after the ruthless ruling by an American court on Aafia Siddiqui. We will demand the release of Siddqui in exchange for her.”
The scientist they want released, Aafia Siddiqui, is a neuroscientist who was sentenced last week in the US to serve 86 years in jail. She attempted to murder US agents while being interviewed in Afghanistan.
The British embassy in Kabul is not commenting on the report of the exchange demand.
The female Scottish aid worker is believed to be around 30 years old and has been working in Afghanistan for many years. The search for the workers is underway and is being led by local tribal leaders.