Taliban Releases Afghan Senator

Politics Materials 18 September 2008 17:02 (UTC +04:00)

Afghanistan, Kabul, 18 September / corr Trend  A.Hakimi /   An Afghan senator was released unharmed two months after his abduction by Taliban militants, he said Wednesday, as rebels abducted an aid worker and his driver in the Logar.

Abdul Wali, an upper house parliamentarian from Logar province near Kabul, denied any deal had been struck following his abduction by gunpoint on July 13.

"Yes, I have been freed," Wali said by the telephone from his home in Logar.

"There was no deal. I was freed by the efforts of the tribal elders. The elders using their influence, pressured the Taliban to free me," he added.

Logar provincial police Chief Ghulam Mustafa also said tribal elders had been instrumental in winning the senator's release.

"Yes, I am aware that he has been released. Taliban has freed him. I think it was negotiated by tribal elders," the police chief said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the group released the senator late Tuesday in exchange for three militant prisoners.

"We freed Abdul Wali in exchange for three of our colleagues who were in jail, " he said by telephone from an unknown location.

Meanwhile, suspected Taliban kidnapped an Afghan engineer and the driver working for a local non-governmental organization in Nangarhar province, where a Japanese aid worker was kidnapped and killed last month in an incident claimed by the rebels.

Provincial government spokesman Ahmad Zia Abdulzai said the armed kidnappers were believed to be Taliban. An operation to locate the engineer was underway, he said.