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Journalist Yvonne Ridley has been released by Taliban

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Assalamu alaikum, Yvonne Ridley back in Pakistan http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/dynamic/news/top_story.html?in_review_id=463093&in_review_text_id=415845
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 8 1:58 PM
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      Yvonne Ridley 'back in Pakistan'


      Sunday Express reporter Yvonne Ridley has been pictured on Pakistani
      television after crossing the border from Afghanistan to freedom.

      Wearing a headscarf, she appeared in good health and good spirits as she
      climbed from a car.

      It was the first sighting of the 43-year-old mother-of-one since her
      arrest by Taliban authorities on September 28 after she crossed into
      Afghanistan to report on the crisis.

      Yvonne Ridley said: "Obviously I am delighted to be free after 10 days
      under arrest. I would like to thank all those who have worked for my
      release including the Foreign Office, the Pakistan Government and of
      course my company Express Newspapers. I am now desperate to get home to
      see my daughter Daisy."

      Martin Townsend, editor of the Sunday Express, said: "We are delighted to
      hear that Yvonne is safe in Pakistan although we won't be celebrating
      until she is back safe on British soil.

      "Our thoughts are still with the eight aid workers held captive in
      Afghanistan. We hope and pray to see their early release."

      A Foreign Office spokeswoman said tonight: "Our High Commission in
      Islamabad have confirmed that Yvonne Ridley is at the office of senior
      Pakistani officials in Peshawar.

      "Consular officials are meeting her there and will give her all assistance
      she requires."

      Prime Minister Tony Blair also told the Commons that Ms Ridley had been
      released and handed over to Pakistani officials.

      She crossed into Pakistan at the Torkhum border crossing at the foot of
      the Khyber Pass, according to tribal authorities at the scene.

      She was accompanied to the Afghan side of the border by officials and met
      there by Pakistani authorities. There were no British officials awaiting
      her at the crossing, tribal officials said.

      Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, was earlier
      reported as saying Ms Ridley had been freed from the Afghan capital Kabul
      at 12 noon local time.

      Earlier today Ms Ridley's mother Joyce, from Pelton, Co Durham, condemned
      the US and British governments for delaying her daughter's release by
      launching Sunday night's attacks.

      Mrs Ridley said: "She was coming home, my Yvonne was a free woman.

      "The British government said she was coming home. Why then could they not
      delay the bombing for a few hours. I just cannot accept that."

      She said the Taliban had agreed to transport her daughter to the border at
      sunrise today.

      "With the start of the military action last night our anticipated joy
      immediately turned to dismay."

      Ms Ridley was seized near the north eastern city of Jalalabad on September
      28 after travelling to the region with two local guides.

      She was held in solitary confinement in a house for her first seven days
      in captivity before being moved to a prison in Kabul.

      She was not carrying her passport and it had been feared she would be
      tried on possible espionage charges.

      But after intensive diplomacy by consular staff at the British High
      Commission in Islamabad and staff from Express Newspapers, the Taliban
      authorities announced her release on Sunday.

      Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said tonight: "I am delighted that Yvonne
      Ridley has been released from custody in Afghanistan, and can now be
      reunited with her family.

      "I know what a great relief this must be for them, especially at such a
      difficult and uncertain time.

      "I am sure that Yvonne's many friends and journalist colleagues in the UK
      and all around the world will welcome this news as much as I do."

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