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Kabul Korrespondence

Fresh, factual, and funky view of Afghanistan and the surrounding Central Asian region

What does it cost to free a hostage?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

BANNU, PAKISTAN and VANCOUVER — Taliban insurgents active in Pakistan's lawless tribal region have offered to free a Canadian woman held since November in return for a $375,000 (U.S.) ransom.

The demand came in an interview near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border with Qari, a man who preferred to identify himself only by his first name.

Qari says he's a close aide of Gul Bahadur, the Taliban head in the volatile North Waziristan region who is alleged to be responsible for the kidnapping of Beverly Giesbrecht, a West Vancouver woman who was in the area working as a freelance journalist.

Ms. Giesbrecht, 52, also goes by the name, Khadija Abdul Qahaar, after converting to Islam in 2002. She is the publisher of a pro-Islamic website, Jihad Unspun.

Ms. Giesbrecht was seized at gunpoint along with two local assistants while traveling in the Bannu district, a gateway to the North Waziristan tribal belt, which borders Afghanistan.
posted by Travis, 10:38 am

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