Afghan Taliban frees Canadian man held since 2010

Canada thanks Qatar for helping secure release of Colin Rutherford, who armed group had accused as being a spy.

    Afghan Taliban frees Canadian man held since 2010
    The Taliban released a video of Rutherford in 2011 and accused the then 26-year-old of being a spy [EPA]

    A Canadian man, held by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2010, has been released, Canada's government has announced. 

    Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said in a statement on Monday that Colin Rutherford was a tourist in Afghanistan when he was seized by the Taliban in November 2010.

    The Taliban released a video of Rutherford in 2011 and accused the then 26-year-old of being a spy.

    Inside Story - The Taliban's growing reach

    Rutherford insisted he was not a spy and had travelled to Afghanistan to study historical sites and shrines. He said in the video that he is an auditor from Canada and came as a tourist.

    Dion said Canada gave "its heartfelt thanks to the Government of Qatar for its assistance in this matter."‎

    "Canada is very pleased that efforts undertaken to secure the release of Colin Rutherford from captivity have been successful," he said.

    "We look forward to Mr. Rutherford being able to return to Canada and reunite with his family and loved ones.

    "The Government of Canada will continue to provide Mr. Rutherford with consular assistance and will assist in facilitating his safe return home.‎"

    The Canadian Circulations Audit Board said in an email that Rutherford was working for them in Toronto when he went on vacation to Afghanistan.

    "This is great news," Tim Peel, the company's vice president, said in an email. "We wish him a safe and speedy return and would like to thank all the parties involved in securing his freedom."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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