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6 Taliban Swapped For German, Afghan Hostage

From an approving Associated Press:

Rudolf Blechschmidt (2nd R), October 7, 2007.

German Hostage in Afghanistan Freed

October 10, 2007

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A German engineer and four Afghans taken hostage in July were freed Wednesday in exchange for six Taliban fighters, an Afghan official said.

Rudolf Blechschmidt and the four Afghans were handed over by local elders to officials from Afghanistan’s intelligence service in the Jaghato district of Wardak province, said the district chief, Mohammad Nahim.

Six detained Taliban militants had been freed in the swap, he said.

In Germany, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed that Blechschmidt had been freed, and the former captive told Spiegel magazine on his release that he was ”doing well.”

”I’m just a little tired,” he told the magazine in a short telephone interview posted on its Web site.

Blechschmidt had also talked with the German ambassador by telephone and confirmed he was safely in the custody of Afghan security forces, Steinmeier said in a statement.

”We are all pleased and relieved,” Steinmeier said.

The release comes just two days after Blechschmidt appeared on a new videotape, appealing to Afghan and German governments to make a deal with the militants for his release before winter.

Blechschmidt said in the video that he was in poor health but that an Afghan doctor had helped him.

Blechschmidt is one of two German engineers and five Afghans taken hostage on July 18 in Wardak province in central Afghanistan. The other German was found dead of gunshot wounds on July 21, while one of the Afghans apparently managed to escape…

Gee, I wonder why kidnapping has increased?

And note that the article didn’t even bother to note which country released the Taliban prisoners.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, October 10th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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