A Canadian who was captured and then held by the Taliban for five years has been released, it was confirmed on Monday.
Colin Rutherford was on a vacation in Afghanistan in 2010 when he was taken prisoner and accused of being a spy. He would later appear in a video released by the Taliban in 2011. In the three-minute clip, Rutherford answered questions about himself and said he was being treated “humanely.” He was never heard from again.
On Monday afternoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion said in a statement that “Canada is very pleased that efforts undertaken to secure the release of Colin Rutherford from captivity have been successful.”
“We look forward to Mr. Rutherford being able to return to Canada and reunite with his family and loved ones.”
The government continues to provide Rutherford, who is from Toronto and was 26 years old when he was captured, with consular assistance and will help him to return safely home, Dion noted. The minister also extended his “heartfelt thanks” to the government of Qatar for its assistance in securing Rutherford’s release.
Rutherford’s brother, Brian Rutherford, told Global News that the family is “obviously overjoyed at the news, but don’t have much else to add at this point.”
Last year, in testimony before a U.S. Senate hearing, Lt.-Col. Jason Amerine testified that while trying to secure the release of another hostage in 2013, he received information that indicated Rutherford had been moved to Pakistan. But infighting and a lack of co-ordination between U.S. government departments allegedly hampered Amerine’s efforts to free Rutherford and other captives.
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