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Red Cross workers released unharmed in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Five Red Cross workers abducted by gunmen in western Afghanistan last week were released unharmed Wednesday, according to the organization.

"Our five colleagues are free,” said Monica Zanarelli, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Kabul, in a press release. “They are in good health and have been reunited with their families, which was the most important thing for us.”

The five aid workers, all Afghans, were working with families in Adraskan district in Herat province last Thursday when they were taken by the gunmen. The release was unconditional, according to the press release. It offered no details on the affiliations of the abductors.

The Red Cross delegation in Afghanistan works with civilians affected by the war, with activities that range from monitoring the conflict for violations of international humanitarian law to working with the wounded in hospitals. It also supports the Afghan Red Crescent Society.

The delegation has occasionally been the target of attacks. A suicide bomber and gunmen targeted its office in the eastern city of Jalalabad in 2013, killing a security guard and wounding a staff member, an incident that spurred the organization to send some of its foreign employees home.

news@stripes.com

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