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

  • N.S. closing all schools Monday ahead of teachers' work-to-rule job action

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is closing all its schools Monday as teachers prepare to take job action over failed contract negotiations. The provincial education minister told reporters Saturday that it cannot ensure student safety under the Nova Scotia Teacher Union’s planned work-to-rule job action. Source
  • Landlord charged with trespassing for sex in renters' bed

    World News CTV News
    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A Colorado landlord faces a felony trespassing charge after a renter with a video security system caught the man having sex in his apartment. An arrest warrant has been issued for Carlos Quijada of Colorado Springs. Source
  • General Tso’s Chicken creator Peng Chang-kuei dead at 98

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — The chef credited with inventing General Tso’s Chicken, a world-famous Chinese dish smothered in a sweet sauce that was never a staple in China, has died in Taiwan at 98. Peng Chang-kuei died of pneumonia last Wednesday in Taipei, his son, Chuck Peng, told The Associated Press. Source
  • Fidel Castro's ashes arrive in eastern city of Santiago

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Cuba -- Fidel Castro's ashes have arrived in the eastern city of Santiago, ending a four-day journey across Cuba. Thousands of people welcomed the leader's remains to shouts of "Fidel! I am Fidel!" The 90-year-old former president died Nov. Source
  • Proposed bill would guarantee coverage for B.C. first responders: MLA

    Canada News CTV News
    A B.C. MLA wants the provincial government to declare post-traumatic stress disorder a “presumptive illness” for emergency workers in order to guarantee coverage for health services. B.C. NDP MLA Shane Simpson says there is concern the British Columbia government isn’t doing enough to help firefighters, police officers and paramedics suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Source
  • Cat named 'Starvin Marvin' after surviving month inside church roof

    Canada News CTV News
    One tough kitty, nicknamed “Starvin’ Marvin,” has been rescued from beneath the eaves of a Vancouver church, where he’s believed to have been trapped for at least a month. Church Road Gospel Chapel says, over the course of the past month, it received several complaints about meowing soundsin the area but every time someone checked, the sounds could not be traced. Source
  • Syria: Thousands of Aleppo's displaced pack market shelter

    World News CTV News
    JIBREEN, Syria -- Azza Haj Hussein held out for four years in war-ravaged eastern Aleppo, moving from one bombed-out home to another and surviving mostly on bread, crushed wheat and rice for four months under a suffocating government siege. Source
  • North Dakota officials pledge 'humane' help for protesters as 'winter begins to take hold'

    World News CBC News
    The head of North Dakota's emergency management services says the state is prepared to respond to Dakota Access pipeline protesters who may need help during a winter storm or some other crisis. State Homeland Security Director Greg Wilz said it would be a "huge challenge," especially during a mass evacuation, but his office has winter shelter plans in place and various agencies are ready to respond. Source
  • 'It's just a ploy': North Dakota protesters reject help from officials to leave as winter descends

    World News CBC News
    The head of North Dakota's emergency management services says the state is prepared to respond to Dakota Access pipeline protesters who may need help during a winter storm or some other crisis. State Homeland Security Director Greg Wilz said it would be a "huge challenge," especially during a mass evacuation, but his office has winter shelter plans in place and various agencies are ready to respond. Source
  • At least 9 dead in fire at Oakland, Calif., warehouse party [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    OAKLAND, Calif. — At least nine people died in a blaze that broke out during a party in a warehouse late Friday night in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to fire officials. Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloche-Reed says at least another 13 people are unaccounted for as of Saturday morning. Source