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Taliban abductors free Dutch female journalist held in Afghanistan since last Saturday

Taliban abductors free Dutch female journalist held in Afghanistan

A Dutch journalist abducted by suspected Taliban rebels in Afghanistan a week ago was freed Friday and is in good health, her employer said. Joanie de Rijke, 43, was captured on Saturday last week while she was en route to do a story about a group of Taliban who had killed 10 French soldiers in August, an editor at the Belgian P-magazine told agence France-Presse (AFP).

Michael Lescroart, editorial chief at the magazine's publisher De Vrije Pers, according to news agency Canadian Press, said the abductors had demanded a ransom but declined to say if one had been paid. De Rijke was examined briefly at a Kabul hospital after her release and is hoping to fly back to Belgium this weekend. Lescroart says that "physically, she's in good shape."

Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Rob Dekker confirmed a Dutch hostage had been released but declined to release her identity, citing security issues. Dekker also declined to give details of the release, but added: "The Dutch government does not pay ransoms."

The Netherlands has nearly 2,000 troops fighting with the NATO-led force in Afghanistan. The vast majority are based in the restive southern province of Uruzgan.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists welcomed De Rijke's release.

"We are relieved that Joanie de Rijke is safe and free. Her weeklong ordeal is an indicator of how dangerous Afghanistan has become for foreign and local reporters," the committee's Asia program director Bob Dietz said in a statement. "The question that must quickly be addressed is how journalists are going to continue to operate in the country's disintegrating security situation."

Date posted: November 8, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 2419