Afghans free Canadian journalist

Abducted reporter released after being held in a small cave for nearly one month.

    Fung was kidnapped by armed Afghanis on October 12 at a UN refugee camp on the outskirts of Kabul [AFP]

    Fung was handed over to Afghan National Directorate of Security officials near Maydan Shah, the provincial capital of Wardak, about 50km southwest of Kabul.

    'Remarkably good spirits'

    Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister, said on Saturday that she "was released around noon Toronto time [17:00GMT] and is now safe within the Canadian embassy in Kabul".

    "She sounded in remarkably good spirits under the circumstances," he said.

     

    Fung's abduction was kept a secret by her employer due to concerns for her safety. CBC said it suspected the kidnappers were criminals rather than members of the Taliban.

     

    Harper said that no ransom had been paid to secure Fung's freedom.

    "It's the government's policy not to pay ransoms and all policies were fully respected," he said.

    Adam Khan Serat, the spokesman for the provincial governor in Wardak, said that she was released after efforts by tribal leaders and provincial council members.

    Afghan officials said that three men had been arrested over the abduction.

    Afghan dangers

    Fung had been on assignment in the southern city of Kandahar, where Canada has at least 2,700 troops on a military mission due to end in 2011.

    Afghanistan, one of the most dangerous nations in the world for reporters, has seen a rise in assassinations and kidnappings of foreigners.

    She was the second kidnapped female Western journalist in Afghanistan to be released in as many days.

    A Dutch journalist abducted by suspected Taliban fighters in Afghanistan a week ago had also been freed on Friday and is in good health, according to her employer, Belgian P-magazine.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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