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Taliban set terms for Canadian's release

Taliban set terms for Canadian's release

By
On
Mar 07, 2011 - 16:36

GHAZNI CITY (PANinfo-icon): Talibaninfo-icon militants on Monday said they had offered to free a Canadian citizen held hostage for two months in return for the release of several of their captured comrades.

Local Taliban leaders in southern Ghazni province are in talks with authorities on a prisoner swap, a rebel spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

The Canadian citizen, Colin Rutherford, was seized in the provincial capital, Ghazni City, two months ago. The government in Ottawa later confirmed one of its citizens who had been visiting Afghanistaninfo-icon as a tourist was missing.

Emmanuelle Lamoureux, deputy director of media relations for the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said last week they were working with Afghan authorities to ensure the safe release of Rutherford.

Mujahid said they had presented their conditions and demands to the government. However, he did not provide further details.

Abdul Qahar Akhunzada, a Taliban leader in Ghazni, said their first condition was the release of detained fighters. But he did not say how many militants they wanted to be freed.

The militant leader said Rutherford was seized two months ago but his abduction was kept secret due to security concerns. Akhunzada said the Canadian was being held in a remote location but was in good healthinfo-icon.

Governor Musa Khan Akbarzada confirmed that talks were underway with the Taliban on Rutherford's release. He said the militants might agree to his conditional release.

Akhunzada rejected the statement that the hostage was a tourist, calling him a spy for foreign troops.

ma/mud/cas

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