Afghanistan: CARE International is relieved by the release of Clementina Cantoni

KABUL -- It is with profound joy and relief that CARE International announces the safe release on June 9, 2005 of Clementina Cantoni, who was abducted in Kabul on May 16.

Clementina, who has been engaged in humanitarian work for 10 years, has lived in Afghanistan since March 2002. Since September 2003, Clementina has managed the 'Humanitarian Assistance for the Women of Afghanistan' (HAWA) project, providing food assistance and income-generating activities for 10,000 widows and their children.

CARE International joins with Clementina's family in expressing deep gratitude for the expressions of support and concern from her friends in Afghanistan over the past three weeks. We want to thank the Italian Embassy in Kabul; the Afghanistan Government; the staff of the HAWA programme; and the widows who were beneficiaries of the programme, who showed their solidarity continuously in demonstrations and vigils for her release.

In consideration for Clementina and her family, we will have no further information to add at this time, and request the media's kind cooperation in respecting their privacy.