Freed aid worker flies home to Italy


Kabul, June 10:

An Italian aid worker freed after three weeks as a hostage in Afghanistan left for home today, as forces continued to hunt for her kidnappers, officials said. A white Italian jet that had landed earlier at Kabul airport left with Clementina Cantoni, 32, her father and brother, senior Ministry of Interior official, Jalili, said. “She flew home. She was very happy. Before leaving, she said she would come back to Afghanistan and that she had fond memories from here,” said Jalili. Cantoni was released yesterday, 24 days after she was kidnapped in Kabul. She was working for CARE International helping Afghan widows and their families. Italian newspaper La Repubblica quoted Cantoni as saying in an interview that her bductors “treated me well” and while in captivity she was being “watched by a group of women”. After being taken to the Italian embassy yesterday, she immediately asked for a bowl of spaghetti, according to La Repubblica and Corriere della Sera. Afghan President Hamid Karzai was

“extremely pleased” to hear the news, said his office statement . Interior Ministry spokes-man Latfullah Mashal said the kidnappers were part of a criminal gang and “police are hunting them”. Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said no ransom was paid to obtain Cantoni’s freedom. Authorities suspect the kidnapping was the work of the same gang that abducted three UN workers last year.