Two foreign aid workers and two Afghan colleagues were rescued this morning by a US-led coalition team, freeing them 11 days after they were seized by militants, reports the AP. The four, including Brit Helen Johnston and Kenyan Moragwe Oirere, worked for Medair, a Swiss-based NGO. They were traveling by donkey to a flood-stricken area in northern Afghanistan close to the Tajikistan border on May 22 when they were captured by militants.
"Mostly smugglers are based in those areas, but of course the smugglers have the support of the Taliban," says the deputy governor of Badakhshan province. The NATO helicopter team credited support from the Afghan interior ministry. "The kidnappers were armed with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s," says a coalition spokesman. "They were kidnapped by an armed terrorist group with ties to the Taliban."