Friday, November 05, 2004

Friends of Kosovo woman kidnapped in Afghanistan launch Internet appeal

Friends of Shqipe Habibi, the Kosovo Albanian woman abducted while working for the UN in Afghanistan, have launched an appeal on the Internet in for her release.

Luan Ibraj, a journalist and Kosovo editor of the oneworld web site, said hisa bosses had allowed him to use the site to put out worldwide appeals by Shqipe's family in the western Kosovo town of Pec.

"Our goal is to reach a wide audience in the world and the one in Afghanistan in particular," Ibraj said:

"The Internet provides an unpretentious way to present our concerns about Shqipe's fate. We would like her to be released as soon as possible and come back to her home town Pec and her family."

Friends, colleagues and local journalists in Pec are engaged in the project via web pages or personal e-mail addresses.

Habibi, 35, British-Irish national Annetta Flanigan and Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan were snatched from their UN car in front of their office in western Kabul last week.

A group affiliated with Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime has claimed responsibility for the abduction.

The last statement sent around the world through the Internet urging Shqipe's release contains an appeal from her brother Agim.

It reminds her kidnappers that in the Koran "her last name personifies Love".

"So, let love, understanding and mercy rule in this Holy Month of Ramadan so that Shqipe can come home to the warmth of her family ...and her two colleagues may return to their beloved families," Agim Habibi said in his statement.

Ibraj said the latest appeal had not gone unanswered.

"Many respondents from the Arab world promised that they would try their best for a positive outcome of the hostage crisis in Afghanistan," he said.

"Like a lot of other Kosovo Albanians she became a member of the UN Mission in Afghanistan because she wanted to help the process of reconstruction and establishing democracy and the long-suffering Afghan people," said Ibraj.

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