We are very happy and relieved to inform you that three members of our Pakistan team have been released after nearly five months in captivity. All three are unharmed and are being reunited with their families in Pakistan.
The three team members are Dr. Syed Asif Abbas, age 50, Iftikhar Shafiq, age 34, and Beeburg Suleman, age 27. They were abducted on February 18, 2010 when their vehicle was intercepted en route to our office in Quetta. Our colleagues were working with local district health officials in Balochistan to implement health programs.
The past five months have been an extremely difficult time for our Pakistan and global teams. Emotions are surely mixed. While we celebrate the safe return of our three colleagues, we are still mourning the loss of our fourth abducted team member, Habibullah, who was killed by his captors earlier last month.
We send warmest thoughts and wishes to our released colleagues, and their families and friends in Pakistan. We will stand by them in the coming days, providing comprehensive support to ensure that they are physically and emotionally healthy, as well as financially stable.
We know that many of you are wondering about the future of our programs in Pakistan. At this time, our Pakistan programs are still suspended and undergoing review. While we remain deeply committed to the people of Pakistan, the safety of our team remains our number one priority. We need to ensure that, if our work continues, it can be done effectively and without putting our team at risk.