An Australian woman working for a charity in Afghanistan has been kidnapped, the country’s foreign minister said Friday. Julie Bishop said Canberra was working to secure the release of Katherine Jane Wilson, but insisted Australia does not pay ransoms for hostages. Wilson, who also uses the first name Kerry, was grabbed in the city of Jalalabad, close to the border with Pakistan, on Thursday, a government official in the area told AFP. “She visited the city of Jalalabad for a women’s embroidery project,” said Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital. “And unknown masked gunmen abducted her from Police District 2 of Jalalabad city.” He added that the kidnappers, disguised as police, took her at 4am from a home in which she was staying. Bishop said she had been in contact with Wilson’s family. “Our priority is to ensure that she is well, that she’s being treated well, and so that’s what we’re focusing our efforts upon, working with the local authorities. Our embassy in Kabul of course is deeply involved in this matter.” Asked if Canberra would pay a ransom if one was demanded, she replied: “The Australian government does not, as a matter of policy, pay ransom for kidnappers.”
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Newsline: Australian embassy seeks to secure release of aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan