Mellissa Fung, a Canadian journalist held for nearly a month by kidnappers in Afghanistan, was freed by Afghan intelligence agents, Afghan officials confirmed on Sunday, dpa reported.
"I can confirm that the Canadian journalist was freed after the tribal elders negotiated with kidnappers," Adma Khan Serat, spokesman for the provincial governor of Wardak, where she was kept, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
But Sayed Ansari, spokesman for Afghan National Directorate of Security or intelligence service, told dpa that the hostage was freed in an operation by their agents in Wardak province late on Saturday.
Ansari said they arrested three kidnappers and the operation was ongoing to arrested three main members of the group, one of whom traced outside the country.
He declined to identify the kidnappers or give more details about the operation.
An Afghan police official, who would only speak on condition of anonymity, said that it was a criminal gang, who had demanded ransom for her release.
Her employer, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) News publisher John Cruickshank, said Fung, a reporter on her second assignment in Afghanistan, had been released after "efforts made by the security experts."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quoted in the national Canadian newspaper, National Post, as saying Fung seemed to be in "remarkably good spirits under the circumstances."
He also said no ransom was paid and thanked Afghan President Hamid Karzai and others in Afghanistan for their efforts to get Fung released.
News organizations had kept a blackout over her kidnapping in Kabul.
"In the interest of Mellissa's safety and that of other working journalists in the region, on the advice of security experts, we made the decision to ask media colleagues not to publish news of her abduction," Cruickshank said.
According to the CBC story, Fung had been able to alert authorities about her kidnapping on her portable phone. The kidnappers were not Taliban militants, she said.
She was taken on October 12 by armed men as she was reporting from a refugee camp outside Kabul, the CBC wrote. She normally worked out of the NATO military base in Kandahar.
Fung's release came two days after Afghan officials said that a Dutch journalist kidnapped in eastern outskirts of Kabul city was freed unharmed after a week in captivity.
Kidnappings by criminal groups for ransom have increased in Kabul and other big cities of Afghanistan recently. The criminal gangs, who are widely believed to have links to high level Afghan security officials, have been behind a series of kidnappings of wealthy Afghans recently.
Among the most recent victims was Humayun Shah Asifi, the brother- in-law of Afghanistan's former king who died last year, who was kidnapped by a group of criminals in Kabul city late last month.
Asifi was freed in an operation by intelligence forces. The kidnappers had asked his relatives for 5 million dollars for his release.
Wary of insecurity Kabul, many foreign aid workers and foreign expatriates have limited their movements inside the city. Some aid organization even set curfew for their foreign workers soon after the sunset.