Afghan Militia Sought to Swap Turkish Engineer for Prisoners. After 32 days in captivity, a Turkish engineer kidnapped by Taliban forces was released unharmed Saturday and briefly presented to journalists Sunday, flanked by beaming Afghan officials and a group of turbaned tribal elders who negotiated his release. The freeing of Hassan Onal, 45, ended a murky episode in a recent spate of attacks and threats by the revived forces of the extremist Islamic militia, which ruled most of the country for five years until being routed by a U.S.-led military assault in late 2001. The release also appeared to signify an important political victory for the government of President Hamid Karzai, which advocated patient negotiations with Onal’s captors but refused to release a group of Taliban prisoners as they had initially demanded. Full Story
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