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

  • Man seen in photos now 'main suspect' in Indiana double homicide

    World News Toronto Sun
    DELPHI, Ind. — A man photographed walking along a northern Indiana trail system around the time two teenage girls later found slain were dropped off by a relative is now considered “the main suspect” in their killings, State Police said Sunday. Source
  • Father of teen drug user urges parents to band together to save lives

    Canada News CTV News
    As an Ottawa-area family laid their 14-year-old daughter to rest Sunday following an apparent overdose, a local father is speaking up about his own teenage daughter’s struggle with drugs in the hope of saving lives. Source
  • Colorado town getting weed shop with drive-through window

    World News CTV News
    PARACHUTE, Colo. - The western Colorado town of Parachute is getting a drive-through marijuana shop believed to be the first in the state. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported Saturday the Parachute Board of Trustees approved a business license for Tumbleweed Express last week. Source
  • Edmonton police issue ticket for wearing a ferret while driving

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A 24-hour traffic enforcement event by Edmonton police resulted in 2,442 violations, including a distracted driving ticket for a motorist wearing a live ferret around their neck while cruising along Whyte Avenue. Police issued 90 additional distracted driving tickets during the enforcement period from Feb. Source
  • Douglas Garland back in jail after inmate beating

    Canada News CBC News
    Douglas Garland is back behind bars, having been released from hospital after suffering a beating by fellow inmates at the Calgary Remand Centre late Friday night. Just hours after Garland, 57, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 75 years for the first-degree murders of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their five-year-old grandson Nathan O'Brien, he was attacked by multiple inmates, suffering what EMS described as soft-tissue injuries. Source
  • Adolf Hitler's phone sold for US$243,000

    World News Toronto Sun
    CHESAPEAKE CITY, MD. - A Maryland auction house is selling Adolf Hitler’s personal travelling telephone. Bill Panagopulos of Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake City says occupying Russian officers gave the phone to Brig. Sir Ralph Rayner during a visit to Hitler’s Berlin bunker. Source
  • Telephone owned by Adolf Hitler sells for $243,000

    World News CTV News
    CHESAPEAKE CITY, Md. - A telephone owned by Adolf Hitler has sold at auction for $243,000. Andreas Kornfeld of Alexander Historical Auctions says the phone sold Sunday afternoon to a person who bid by phone. Source
  • 'More of the same or change': Ecuador voters head to polls in presidential election

    World News CBC News
    Ecuadoreans are choosing Sunday between a candidate who vows to continue President Rafael Correa's populist platform or one of several more conservative contenders who pledge to attack corruption and cut taxes to stimulate the Andean nation's flagging economy. Source
  • Bomb explodes by Colombia bull ring, injuring 26

    World News CTV News
    BOGOTA -- A homemade bomb exploded near Bogota's bullring on Sunday, injuring two dozen police officers and two civilians, Colombian authorities said. The explosive device, which shattered windows in nearby apartment buildings, appeared to have been left in a sewer outside a new youth hostel popular with foreign backpackers. Source
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security seeks to aggressively detain immigrants

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Homeland Security Department has drafted sweeping new guidelines aimed at aggressively detaining and deporting immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, according to a pair of memoranda signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly. Source