4 Dec 2008

Kidnapped French aid worker freed in Afghanistan

9:04 am on 4 December 2008

A French aid worker kidnapped a month ago in the Afghan capital Kabul was released on Wednesday - a week after he was seen pleading for his life in a hostage video.

Dany Egreteau, who worked for the Solidarite Laique (Secular Solidarity) charity, was reportedy to be safe at the French embassy in Kabul late on Wednesday.

However, there are few details on the circumstances of his release.

President Nicolas Sarkozy welcomed the news in Paris and said the aid worker would be flown back home to France late Thursday.

Mr Egreteau had been in Afghanistan only a week, on his first mission, when he was seized by three armed men in a residential district of Kabul on 3 November. An Afghan who tried to stop the abduction was shot dead.

French authorities last week received a video showing him with guns pointed at his head.

The head of the agency he worked for insisted that no ransom had been paid.

There has been a series of kidnappings in the Afghan capital, mostly by criminal gangs seeking ransoms.