Thursday 9 September 2010

British journalist freed in Pakistan

Asad Qureshi, the British journalist kidnapped in March in North Waziristan, has been freed and reunited with his family in Islamabad, according to reports. Qureshi, who was working on a Channel 4 documentary, was taken prisoner along with two Pakistani former intelligence officers - one of whom was subsequently murdered by his captors - and a driver. There is no word on the fate of the driver or of Colonel Imam, a well-known former ISI officer who claims to have trained many of the leaders of the Afghan Taliban in guerrilla tactics.
The other ISI officer, Khalid Khwaja, was shot and dumped outside the town of Mir Ali on 28 April. Days before he had been shown in a videotape 'confessing' to being an American spy.
The group responsible for the kidnaps and killing called itself the Asian Tigers, but was in fact a splinter group from the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a notorious sectarian group that originated in the Punjab. They were also known as the Punjabi Taliban, even though their ranks included some discredited members of the Mahsud tribe from Waziristan.
Two weeks ago, the leader of the Asian Tigers, Usman Punjabi, was killed along with five of his followers in a shoot-out with rivals in a dispute over an Arab widow in the Dandy Darpakhel area of North Waziristan. It is likely that Qureshi's release is connected to this event, which effectively destroyed the Asian Tigers as an organisation.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, it has been reported that Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka, who had been held captive for five months, was freed on Monday after using his guard's new phone to send a Twitter message. Interesting to note that his captors were from Hezb-e-Islami, but pretended they were from the Taliban.
Update: On Friday it was reported that Qureshi's driver, Rustam Khan, has also been released by the kidnap gang that had been holding them and Col. Imam. Still no word on the fate of Col. Imam.

1 comment:

Dawn Weleski said...

Dear Nick Fielding,


My name is Dawn Weleski, and I am one of the collaborators of Conflict

I am writing to you to ask for your cooperation with a project discussing
Afghan culture, everyday life, and politics, called Bolani Pazi. Please
feel free to participate as your time and comfort level will allow.

Bolani Pazi, an Afghan take-out restaurant that will be located in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, is the second iteration of Conflict Kitchen
(to open mid-October). The Afghan take-out restaurant will serve bolani
with a choice of four different fillings: potato and green onion, pumpkin,
lentils, or spinach. The bolani will be packaged in a custom-designed
wrapper that highlights the thoughts, perceptions, and opinions of Afghans
both in the U.S. and in Afghanistan. While the take-out restaurant is
serving Afghan food, we will create programming that extends and deepens the
dialogue between everyday Americans and Afghans.

In an effort to collect quotes for the wrapper, I am writing to you with
a short list of questions that I would ask each of you (if you are an Afghan
that has even lived in Afghanistan or is currently living in
Afghanistan) to answer (LISTED BELOW). You many answer as many questions as
you wish. Additionally, if you have feedback on these questions, please
feel free to send it my way so that we can adjust our approach before we
send out to a larger group. Please send all answers to Please pass along these questions to other Afghans
that you may know.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and concerns. Finally,
please allow me to extend me sincere appreciation for your participation.
This collaboration is the crux, the heart of the Conflict Kitchen project.


Dawn Weleski
Conflict Kitchen collaborator
U.S. cell: +1 724-681-3886
skype: dawn.weleski