German hostage released in Afghanistan

10th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

10 October 2007, Kabul (dpa) - A German engineer, Rudolf Blechschmidt, 62, and five of his Afghan colleagues held hostage by the Taliban since July have been released in central province of Maidan Wardak, officials confirmed on Wednesday.

10 October 2007

Kabul (dpa) - A German engineer, Rudolf Blechschmidt, 62, and five of his Afghan colleagues held hostage by the Taliban since July have been released in central province of Maidan Wardak, officials confirmed on Wednesday.

"Yes, he has been released, I can confirm that," Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman, Zemarai Bashary told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa,

"He (Blechschmidt) is not yet in Kabul, they are on the way," he added.

"At 3:45 the German engineer along with five Afghans were released by the Taliban and some seven minutes ago I handed them over to intelligence officials and now they are on their way to Kabul," Haji Naeem Khan, chief of the Jaghatu district, where the hostages were held for the past two months told dpa earlier.

He said that the government released the father and the three supporters of Mullah Nezamuddin, the mastermind behind the kidnapping case. The four were arrested by the Afghan intelligence service on September 27, the day the hostages were expected to be released, after Nezamuddin refused to free the hostages.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed that Blechschmidt had been freed and was under the protection of Afghan security forces. Steinmeier said the German government was "happy and relieved" that Blechschmidt had been released.

Four employees of the Red Cross, who tried to facilitate the abducted German's release, were taken hostage by Taliban, but freed in good health two days later.

The hostage is one of the two German engineers, who along with their six Afghan colleagues, were kidnapped while visiting a construction project site in Maidan Wardak province on July 18 by local criminals with close ties to Taliban militants.

One of the Afghans apparently escaped from kidnappers' custody three days later, while the other German hostage, a 44-year-old, was found dead after only a few days in captivity after being shot by his abductors.

Taliban spokesmen had contacted media several times and demanded the release of their jailed comrades in Afghan government custody and the withdrawal of some 3,000 German troops from country for the freedom of the hostages.

Wednesday's release came two days before the German parliament was due to vote on extending the country's military mission in Afghanistan as part of the international force there.

DPA

Subject: German news

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