QUETTA: Taliban commanders claim that an
unidentified group has demanded a Rs 2 million rupee ($33,000) ransom for the
release of Canadian free-lance journalist who has been reportedly abducted in
southern Afghanistan, a Pakistani intelligence officer said on Saturday.
( AP )
The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Taliban did not
reveal the identity of the group that it said was holding Ken Hechtman, who
writes for the weekly Montreal Mirror.
The Taliban said they had initially detained Hechtman on Tuesday night in the
Afghan town of Spinboldak, but released him the next morning. They maintain
Hechtman was kidnapped when he was being driven in a taxi to the nearby border
Earlier, another Pakistani official said he believed the Taliban was still
There was no immediate comment from Canadian diplomats investigating the case
in the Pakistani border town of Chaman, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from
Maulana Ameenullah, a Taliban official in Chaman, said on Friday he was
willing to help locate Hechtman, 33, who had been in Pakistan and Afghanistan
since early October.
His most recent report for the Mirror, from Peshawar, Pakistan,
appeared in the Nov. 22 edition. A Nov. 15 article was from Taliban-held
territory in Afghanistan.
Eight journalists have been killed since Oct. 7, when the United States
launched a military campaign to drive the Taliban from power for harboring
Osama Bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the