Freeing a hostage …

The Pakistan Observer is reporting that two Taliban leaders held on charges of terrorism and murder of foreign troops were released in exchange for the freedom of CBC journalist Mellissa Fung, who had been held captive in a tiny cave west of Kabul for 28 days. The World Desk is trying to independently confirm the story. If true, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s claim that no ransom was paid for Fung’s release was disingenuous.

UPDATE: A government official who is knows the details of Fung’s release told The World Desk that several suspects were arrested during the investigation into Fung’s abduction, and some of these individuals were subsequently released — not, the official said, in exchange for Fung’s freedom. The official added that none of the released prisoners belonged to the Taliban.

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: Omar Samad, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada, told The World Desk that no prisoner swap took place to secure Fung’s release. He said that she was freed after Afghan security forces, who were helped by “local community networks,” raided a compound in Wardak province. He said several suspects have been detained and others are being pursued.

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