Two-month ordeal: Taliban release aid workers kidnapped in Pishin

Published: October 5, 2011

It is understood the hostages were held in South Waziristan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

QUETTA: Eight Pakistanis working for a US charity have been released by the Taliban following a two-month kidnap ordeal near the Afghan border, one of their colleagues said on Tuesday. The American Refugee Committee (ARC) workers were abducted on July 18 in Pishin district, about 50 kilometres north of Quetta.

“The kidnapped eight people are low-rank employees. They were released after paying a huge chunk of ransom money,” family sources told The Express Tribune, adding that they have reached Islamabad from Wana and will travel to Quetta on Tuesday.

Earlier, commissioner of Quetta told The Express Tribune that the abducted employees of ARC had been shifted to Wana or the tribal areas in Waziristan by their abductors.

“Our eight colleagues who were kidnapped in July have been released,” Muhammad Shafique, ARC’s provincial coordinator told AFP. “They are safe and sound.”

Shafique said that the workers had “reached” Peshawar on Tuesday and were expected back in Quetta within a few days.

When asked who seized the group and whether a ransom was paid, he said he had no details.

According to its website, ARC has been working in Afghan refugee camps near Quetta since 2002, providing health care to 101,000 Afghans, and has helped 156,000 people affected by flooding in Pakistan.

Kidnappings blamed on criminal groups and militants plague Balochistan and northwest Pakistan, where hostages snatched by common criminals can be sold on to al Qaeda and Taliban-linked groups.

In August, an American development consultant was kidnapped from his home in Lahore just days before he was due to return to the United States. Police say so far they have drawn a blank on the whereabouts of 70-year-old Warren Weinstein or the identities of his abductors.

On July 1, a Swiss couple was also kidnapped in Balochistan after driving into Pakistan from India on holiday, possibly en route to Iran. (with Additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (2)

  • ali
    Oct 4, 2011 - 12:54AM

    1st step towards peace…

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  • Niaz Hussain Shah
    Oct 4, 2011 - 2:01AM

    It is always very depressing to hear about aid workers abductions. These good people go to other counties to help the sick and needy. The groups who kidnap them are criminals. We do not have any place for them in a civilised society. These terrorists are not Pakistanis and we the Pakistanis disown them.

    Everyone knows that TTP is funded and supported by anti Pakistan forces. Americans know that India is involved in unrest in Balochistan and supporting and funding anti state elements there. Some Balochis travel on Indian passport. America is fully aware of the fact that Indians are staging same drama which they staged in East Pakistan in 1971, but American will never stop them because USA have their eyes on the hidden wealth in Balochistan. Beside that Indian have become the blue eyes of Americans.

    Karzai is an American stooge who is playing in the hands of India. He does whatever he is told to do by his masters.

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