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Canadian Tourist Held by Taliban For Five Years Released

Colin Rutherford (Image source: CBC News)

TORONTO (AP) — A Canadian man, held by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2010, has been released, Canada's government announced Monday.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion said in a statement that efforts to win Colin Rutherford's release were successful. Rutherford was a tourist in Afghanistan when he was seized by the Taliban in November 2010. The Taliban released a video of Rutherford in 2011 and accused the then 26-year-old of being a spy.

Rutherford insisted he was not a spy and had travelled to Afghanistan to study historical sites and shrines. He said in the video that he is an auditor from Canada and came as a tourist.

It was not immediately clear how his release came about, but Dion thanked the government of Qatar for its assistance.

"Canada is very pleased that efforts undertaken to secure the release of Colin Rutherford from captivity have been successful," Dion said.

"We look forward to Mr. Rutherford being able to return to Canada and reunite with his family and loved ones."

Rutherford's brother, Brian, called it incredible news and said he was deeply grateful to all those who aided in the release.

"We're obviously overjoyed," he said.

The Canadian Circulations Audit Board said in an email that Rutherford was working for them in Toronto when he went on vacation to Afghanistan.

"This is great news," Tim Peel, the company's vice-president, said in an email. "We wish him a safe and speedy return and would like to thank all the parties involved in securing his freedom."

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