Taliban Still Holding Canadian Hostage Beverly Giesbrecht
Toronto's Globe and Mail reports that the Taliban has shelved their plans to behead Canadian hostage Beverly Giesbrecht (aka Khadija Abdul Qahaar), but she is still being held in an unknown tribal region of northern Pakistan.
"After broad-based consultations, the Shura [leadership council] has postponed indefinitely the plan to kill the woman," said Qari, a close associate of Taliban commander Gul Bahadur, who asked to be identified by his first name only. Some locals said that while there is no hard information about her release, it could come at any time.
They had originally given the Canadian government until March 31st to come up with US$375,000 for her release, but extended the deadline to April 5th when time ran out.
"For the time being, we failed to patch up the deal to secure her release," said a tribal elder who is part of the negotiation team and who did not want his name revealed. "But I am optimistic she will be freed."
"We are in contact with all the concerned Pakistani authorities. And it is the prime responsibility of the host country to protect the lives and properties of guests," an official with the Canadian embassy said yesterday.
Previous NP coverage: Canadian Journalist held by Taliban Phones Toronto's 'The Globe'
Talks for release of kidnapped Canadian journalist in final phase
Taliban Threaten to Behead Canadian Hostage in New Video