An Afghan television channel has broadcast a video message from the German aid worker taken hostage in Kabul yesterday. In it she appeals for the release of “innocent prisoners” from Afghan jails, a key demand of Taliban hostage-takers.
It is the first sign from the kidnappers that their captive is alive. Since controversially freeing prisoners to obtain the release of an Italian journalist, the Afghan government has refused to do any hostage deals. However the kidnappers say they are not Taliban members.
Christina Barbara Meier was kidnapped after six months working in Afghanistan. Security forces are now spreading out in and around Kabul in a bid to find her. She was snatched from a restaurant while dining with her husband, and suspicion has fallen on their driver, who reportedly fled with the kidnappers.
Today is Independence day in Afghanistan, and President Karzai led celebrations of freedom from British rule won in 1919. He used the occasion to call on Afghans to boost education so that their independence would be less reliant on foreign intervention.