Afghan Taliban Release BBC Interpreter

Published December 21st, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Afghanistan's Taliban authorities Thursday released Afghan interpreter Abdul Saboor Salehzai after five nights in detention, officials and witnesses said. 

Salehzai was arrested for working with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for more than one year without authorization from the Taliban. 

He was set free from a ruling miltia-run detention center in the capital following diplomatic efforts in Kabul, London and neighboring Pakistan. 

"The reservation on Salehzai's characteristics for which he had been arrested has now been removed and that is why he is out of detention now,", said Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Omsan Sheryar. 

Salehzai, in his early 40s, was arrested at his office in Kabul last Saturday by Taliban intelligence personnel after repeated official warnings that he must leave the BBC or face detention. 

A foreign ministry official during the former communist regime, he was sacked by the Taliban in a purge several years ago. 

Salehzai, who rejoined his family amid tears of joy, said he was not ill-treated in detention. "They were nice to me." 

The Taliban spokesman said Salehzai could live freely in any part of the country. 

Sheryar said the BBC, which has a bureau in Kabul, would be permitted to continue its work. 



© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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