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

  • Powerful cyclone lashes Oman, Yemen; 1 dead, 40 missing

    World News CTV News
    SALALAH, Oman -- Cyclone Mekunu has blown into the Arabian Peninsula, drenching arid Oman and Yemen with rain and cutting off power lines. Portions of Salalah, Oman's third-largest city, lost electricity early Saturday as the cyclone made landfall. Source
  • Saskatchewan to allow people to remove gender designation from birth certificate

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON -- A Saskatchewan mother hopes a court decision ordering the province to allow gender markers to be removed from birth certificates when requested -- even for children -- will help to further change people's attitudes. Source
  • South Korea relieved about Trump-Kim summit revival efforts

    World News CTV News
    This combination of two file photos shows U.S. President Donald Trump, left, in Cleveland, Ohio, on May 5, 2018 and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, in Panmunjom, South Korea, on April 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, Korea Summit Press Pool via AP) Source
  • Mysterious wolf-like creature shot and killed in Montana

    World News CBC News
    A rancher in central Montana shot a wolf-like animal after it was spotted in a pasture with livestock, but a closer look prompted state wildlife officials to take DNA samples to determine what type of animal it was. Source
  • CTV's Kevin Newman honoured with RTDNA President's Award

    Canada News CTV News
    W5 host and managing editor Kevin Newman was honoured with the Radio Television Digital News Association of Canada’s prestigious President’s Award at a gala in Toronto Friday night. “For more than 30 years Kevin Newman has contributed his valuable insights and extraordinary storytelling abilities to audiences on both sides of the border,” RTDNA president Ian Koenigsfest said in an earlier statement announcing the award. Source
  • Recovery begins for flood evacuees from Grand Forks, B.C.

    Canada News CTV News
    GRAND FORKS, B.C. -- Emergency personnel in Grand Forks, B.C., say the recovery process has begun in the community of 4,000, which was hardest hit by this year's flooding. Evacuation orders have been lifted for all but 12 properties in the community. Source
  • White House wants briefing on classified info: Giuliani

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump's legal team wants a briefing on the classified information shared with lawmakers about the origins of the FBI investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election and may take it to the Justice Department as part of an effort to scuttle the ongoing special counsel probe. Source
  • Edmonton man gored by bison in Elk Island National Park

    Canada News CBC News
    A morning run in Elk Island National Park left Craig Neilson with about six stitches in his butt and an incredible story about being attacked by a bison. "How does that even happen? You got charged by a bison?" said Neilson, who admitted he has been subjected to "a lot of butt jokes" since sharing his story. Source
  • Sask. judge rules province must allow people to remove gender markers from birth certificates

    Canada News CBC News
    On Thursday, a Saskatchewan judge ruled that the province must amend current policy to allow people of all ages to change or remove the gender on their birth certificates. Justice Lana Krogan issued the decision Thursday at Regina's Court of Queen's Bench. Source
  • Librarian dies after brutal daytime beating in Ottawa

    Canada News CTV News
    A 59-year-old woman who was found clinging to life after a vicious beating at a Christian Science Reading Room in downtown Ottawa has died from her injuries, police say. There are currently no suspects in the brazen, daytime attack. Source