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Pakistani envoy in Afghanistan released

Latest update : 2008-05-17

Three months after his kidnapping, Ambassador Tariq Azizuddin was released in Afghanistan by Taliban militants and is on his way back to safety.

ISLAMABAD, May 17 (Reuters) - Suspected Taliban militants
have released Pakistan's envoy to Afghanistan more than three
months after he was kidnapped in Pakistan's Khyber tribal
region, a senior government official told Reuters on Saturday.

Pakistani television channels said the envoy, Tariq
Azizuddin, had been freed in Afghanistan.

A relative said Azizuddin was expected to return home to
his family in Islamabad shortly.

"The authorities contacted us and said that Aziz has been
released and he would be back by the evening," a family member
told Reuters.

Last month, Azizuddin appeared in a video on an Arabic
television saying he was being held by the Taliban and urged
the Pakistani government to meet their demands.

In his video, Azizuddin did not say what demands the
Taliban were making, but Pakistani media reports had reported
they had called for the release of several jailed militants.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, however, later
denied that members the guerrilla movement were responsible for
abducting the envoy.
Pakistan's long tribal belt on the Afghan border is notorious
for being a haven for smugglers and bandits and has turned into
a major sanctuary for al Qaeda and the Taliban militants who
fled from Afghanistan after a U.S.-led invasion in the wake of
the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.

Scores of people have been abducted in the dangerous border
region and the ambassador's disappearence highlighted mounting
lawlessness in the tribal areas.

Date created : 2008-05-17