London aid worker rescued in Afghanistan

Helen Johnston was kidnapped on May 22nd. Photo: Foreign Office

An aid worker from Stoke Newington has been freed in a military operation after being held hostage in Afghanistan.

Helen Johnston, along with her colleagues Kenyan national Moragwe Oirere and two Afghan civilians, were rescued in an early morning raid after being kidnapped on May 22 in Badakhshan province.

All four work for Medair, a humanitarian non-governmental organisation based near Lausanne in Switzerland.

"We are delighted and hugely relieved by the wonderful news that Helen and all her colleagues have been freed."

– Ms Johnston's family

In a statement, Ms Johnston's family - parents Philip and Patricia and her brother Peter - said: "We are delighted and hugely relieved by the wonderful news that Helen and all her colleagues have been freed. We are deeply grateful to everyone involved in her rescue, to those who worked tirelessly on her behalf, and to family and friends for their love, prayers and support over the last twelve days."

The Prime Minister David Cameron said he authorised the rescue attempt yesterday afternoon, after becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of Ms Johnston and her colleagues. He said all four hostages were rescued safely, no British troops were injured and a number of Taliban and hostage-takers were killed.

He said, "It was an extraordinarily brave, breath-taking even, operation that our troops had to carry out. I pay tribute to their skill and dedication."