Taliban Orders Release of British Journalist Yvonne Ridley
The Taliban said Saturday it would release British female journalist Yvonne Ridley, arrested a week ago for entering Afghanistan illegally.
Taliban ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef told the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) that Ridley would be released "either today or tomorrow."
"Taliban leader [Mullah Mohammad Omar] issued the order following the British government's request for her release," Zaeef said.
The statement, which came hours after British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a lightning visit to Pakistan, did not mention any conditions placed on Ridley's release.
Ridley was detained near Jalalabad, eastern Afghanistan, on September 28 after slipping into the country disguised under an all-covering burqa cloak, accompanied by two Afghan guides. She was not carrying a passport or Taliban visa.
The Taliban had said Ridley would be placed on trial and was being investigated on possible spying charges.
Ridley had reportedly apologized to the Taliban for entering the country, saying she was trying to report on the plight of Afghan refugees for her newspaper, the Sunday Express.
In Saturday's statement, Zaeef did not comment on the fate of Ridley's guides, who were arrested at the same time.
A Taliban intelligence source told AFP Friday that Ridley had been shifted from Jalalabad to the nation's capital, Kabul
But Zaeef said Ridley was still being detained in Jalalabad.
The fundamentalist Afghan regime is under massive international pressure as it continues to protect the chief suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Osama bin Laden - ISLAMABAD (AFP)
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