Protesters chant anti-government slogans as they march against the kidnapping of civilians by militants at Shar-e-Naw Park in Kabul in June 2016.

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Australian aid worker kidnapped late last year freed, Australian authorities say

The woman was seized in November as she traveled by car with her driver

CNN  — 

An Australian woman has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, Afghan police said Sunday.

“An Australian woman kidnapped in Afghanistan has been released. We thank the authorities in Afghanistan for their support and assistance,” a spokesman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a statement.

“The Australian Government has provided ongoing consular support. Her family welcomes her safe return and asks that the media respect their privacy at this time.”

The woman was seized in Kabul’s Qala e Fatullah area area on Saturday evening as she was traveling by car with her driver, said Basir Mujahid, a spokesman for Kabul’s police chief.

He said the woman, who is an Australian citizen of Pakistani origin, works for the Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief (ACBAR,) which describes itself as an Afghan independent body bringing together more than 150 national and international NGOs operating in the country.

The agency declined to comment on her release.

Kidnapping rife

Both Afghans and foreigners face the risk of abduction in Afghanistan, with two previous cases this year also involving Australians.

An Australian aid worker was abducted from her home in Jalalabad in Afghanistan in April, but was freed in August. Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security said Kerry Jane Wilson was released after it conducted a special operation.

An American and an Australian were also kidnapped from American University in Kabul in August. A rescue attempt by US Special Operations Forces from SEAL Team 6 failed when they were not found at the location targeted.

In June, nearly 200 people were kidnapped by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kunduz, police said. The majority were released but the fighters killed several people and kept around 20 hostage.

CNN’s Ehsan Popalzai, Zahra Ullah and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.