Taliban says it released Canadian hostage on humanitarian grounds

A Canadian man held hostage by the Taliban for five years was freed for humanitarian reasons, his captors claimed Tuesday, as dramatic details of his release emerged.

See Full Article

Colin Rutherford was on a private vacation in Afghanistan when he was seized by the Taliban in November 2010.

His release was abruptly announced on Monday in a brief statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, who would only say that efforts to free Rutherford had involved the government of Qatar.

The Taliban confirmed Qatar's involvement in a statement released Tuesday, but also elaborated on why Rutherford had been let go.

It said Rutherford was freed "on grounds of humanitarian sympathy and sublime Islamic ethics."

The Taliban statement also said Rutherford had been detained in Afghanistan's northeastern Ghazni province.

The Canadian Embassy in Kabul has not yet revealed Rutherford's current whereabouts and it wasn't immediately clear if he had been flown out of Afghanistan.

But an Afghani official divulged a few details of Rutherford's release a day after it took place.

Police chief Gen. Aminullah Amarkhil said it involved a helicopter landing to scoop Rutherford to freedom as fighter jets flew overhead.

Amarkhil added that Rutherford had been released at 11 a.m. on Monday in Ghazni province's remote Giro district.

The involvement of Qatar in Rutherford's release is not entirely surprising. The Persian Gulf country has at times quietly played mediator between western governments and the Taliban -- even helping to facilitate peace negotiations between governments in Kabul and the hardline insurgency.

The Taliban have openly maintained a political office in the capital of Doha since 2013.

The last indication Rutherford's family had that he was alive came in a 2011 video released by insurgents where he answered questions; an accompanying email accused Rutherford, then 26, of being a spy.

In the video, Rutherford, who is from Toronto, insisted he was not a spy and had travelled to Afghanistan to study historical sites, old buildings and shrines.

Rutherford's brother has called the Canadian's release "incredible news."

"It absolutely is an enormous relief," Brian Rutherford said in a message to The Canadian Press. "My deepest gratitude to all those whose efforts have aided in Colin's safe release."

Rutherford was working as an auditor with the Canadian Circulations Audit Board in Toronto when he went on vacation to Afghanistan.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Relief, anger for members of Toronto LGBTQ community after arrest

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Some members of Toronto's LGBTQ community are expressing relief that an arrest had been made in the presumed deaths of two men who went missing from the city's gay village last year, but say they're also angry police didn't heed their concerns over a possible serial killer earlier. Source
  • House blocks Democrat from seeking to impeach Trump

    World News CTV News
    In this March 10, 2011 file photo, Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Source
  • New York unveils plan to charge car drivers in Midtown, Lower Manhattan

    World News CBC News
    Motorists would have to shell out $11.52 US to drive into the busiest parts of Manhattan under a new proposal commissioned by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ease traffic congestion and raise vital funds for mass transit. Source
  • Powerful waves prompt warnings, beach closures on west coast of Vancouver Island

    Canada News CTV News
    TOFINO, B.C. -- Long-time residents of Vancouver Island's west coast admit to being awestruck by the latest storm that has prompted an extreme wave hazard advisory for the region, including Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino and Ucluelet. Source
  • Four N.S. fishing village fire victims remembered as happy, adventurous

    Canada News CTV News
    PUBNICO, N.S. -- They are being remembered for their mischievous smiles, boundless senses of humour, love of the outdoors and happy giggles. The descriptions are included in separate obituaries for four young children who died in a tragic house fire almost two weeks ago in the small fishing village of Pubnico Head in southern Nova Scotia. Source
  • Quebec teen fires off cease and desist letter to school board over smartphone rules

    Canada News CTV News
    SAGUENAY, Que. -- A 15-year-old Quebec boy is challenging his school's policy of confiscating a smartphone for 24 hours if it is used during class. A school board in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region confirms it received a letter from Vincent Duguay this week. Source
  • Canadians vacationing in Jamaica's Montego Bay warned to stay within resorts

    Canada News CBC News
    The Canadian government is warning tourists in the popular Jamaican destination of Montego Bay to remain in their resorts due to an increase in violent crime. Travel Canada issued the warning after the Jamaican government declared a state of emergency and deployed military forces to the island's St. Source
  • He said-he said: 10 times that Trump has contradicted Trump

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- It's a he said-he said thing. U.S. President Donald Trump once promised to be "very restrained" on Twitter -- "if I use it at all." He thought campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was an "excellent guy" -- until Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Source
  • Lac-Mégantic jury asks 3rd question as deliberations stretch on

    Canada News CBC News
    The jury in the Lac-Mégantic trial of three men charged in connection with 2013 rail disaster had another question Friday morning, as they embarked on their ninth day of deliberations. The jurors asked clarification on determining how the actions and decisions made by the three accused differed from what another employee would have done in the situation. Source
  • Palestinian family says it killed relative suspected of spying for Israel

    World News CBC News
    A Palestinian family in the Gaza Strip said it has killed a relative who allegedly helped Israel track down and kill three senior Hamas militants, including one of the man's own kinsmen. In a statement, the family of Ahmed Barhoum said it had shot him in the city of Rafah after being told by a militant group that Barhoum had provided information to Israel. Source