Kidnapped Australian woman released in Afghanistan

Australia warns its nationals not to travel to Afghanistan, saying they could be kidnap targets

An Australian woman kidnapped in Afghanistan last year has been released, officials said Thursday.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said the woman was an aid worker abducted in November last year in the Afghan capital Kabul, reportedly at gunpoint.

"An Australian woman kidnapped in Afghanistan has been released," the department of foreign affairs said in a statement, thanking authorities in Afghanistan for their support and assistance.

"Her family welcomes her safe return and asks that the media respect their privacy at this time."

Australia warns its nationals not to travel to Afghanistan, saying in its latest advisory last month that "aid workers, journalists, and employees of foreign companies could be kidnap targets".

"Do not travel to Afghanistan because of the extremely dangerous security situation and the very high threat of terrorist attack," it added.

Last August, an Australian aid worker, Katherine Jane Wilson, was rescued by Afghan special forces.

She had been abducted by unidentified masked gunmen from Jalalabad near the border with Pakistan four months earlier.

At least one other Australian remains hostage, Timothy Weekes, a professor at the American University of Afghanistan, who was seized last August along with an American colleague.

They both appeared in a Taliban hostage video in January, the first apparent proof that they were still alive.

Kabul is plagued by organised criminal gangs who stage kidnappings for ransom, often targeting foreigners and wealthy locals, and sometimes handing them over to insurgent groups.