The family of a Kenyan aid worker rescued from kidnappers was elated that their daughter's ordeal was over Saturday.
Moragwe Oirere, who works for Swiss-based charity Medair, was among four rescued by NATO forces who also killed five kidnappers in a daring night raid on a cave in Afghanistan's remote Badakhshan province.
She was freed alongside colleague Helen Johnston, a Briton. Two Afghan colleagues kidnapped with them on May 22 were also freed unharmed.
The victims were seized at gunpoint on May 22 while travelling on horseback to relief project sites in the remote and mountainous province of Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan.
"We are greatly happy that the ordeal our daughter has gone through is over. Thanks to all those that have worked tirelessly and brought this to a safe conclusion, said Dr and Mrs Oirere in a statement released by the British High Commission in Kenya Saturday.
"We specifically want to thank the British Government for the selfless effort by their people in Afghanistan, in London and in Nairobi, the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Medair in Switzerland and all the people who have been praying for Moragwa’s safe release.
“We will not forget the media, both abroad and in Kenya for maintaining the privacy of all those affected and especially the four that were in the hands of captors. May we see such privacy in all respects of a similar nature for the safety and security of those affected in future.”
A spokesman for NATO'S International Security Assistance Force said the rescue mission was a success.
"The mission to rescue the hostages was launched in the early hours of today under cover of darkness with the assistance of helicopters," said the spokesman.
"The hostages were being held in a cave in the mountains."
Medair had requested restraint in reporting on the kidnap, saying publicity could only jeopardise efforts the secure the relief of their staff.
It is not known what demands the kidnappers had made.
"Last night in a successful operation Afghan special forces freed two foreign and three Afghan hostages in Shahri Buzurg, Badakhshan," Lal Mohammad Ahmadzai, spokesman for security forces in northern Afghanistan, told AFP.
"Five kidnappers were killed during the operation. The hostages are in good condition," he said.
ISAF commander General John R. Allen thanked the Afghan interior ministry for its "tremendous support throughout this crisis".
He said the mission "exemplifies our collective and unwavering commitment to defeat the Taliban".
"I'm extremely grateful to the Afghan authorities and proud of the ISAF forces that planned, rehearsed, and successfully conducted this operation.
"Thanks to them, Ms. Helen Johnston, Ms. Moragwe Oirere, and their two co-workers will soon be rejoining their families and loved ones."
Badakhshan is an impoverished and mountainous province in Afghanistan's far northeast, and while mainly quiet, there have been pockets of insurgent activity.
Both criminals and Taliban insurgents waging a war against the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai have been responsible for kidnappings in the past, but Allen's comment suggests that the kidnappers in this case were Taliban.
In August 2010, the Taliban claimed responsibility for killing a group of eight medical aid workers in Badakhshan, claiming they were "Christian missionaries".
The rescue shows the vital importance of NATO's air power and highly-skilled special forces in the war against the Taliban. But the alliance will be pulling its combat troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and is training Afghan forces to take over responsibility for security.