Colin Rutherford was working as an auditor with the Canadian Circulations Audit Board in Toronto when he went on vacation to Afghanistan. (Photo: Facebook)It said Rutherford was freed "on grounds of humanitarian sympathy and sublime Islamic ethics."
The involvement of Qatar in Rutherford's release is not entirely surprising. The Persian Gulf country has at times quietly played mediator between western governments and the Taliban — even helping to facilitate peace negotiations between governments in Kabul and the hardline insurgency. The Taliban have openly maintained a political office in the capital of Doha since 2013. The last indication Rutherford's family had that he was alive came in a 2011 video released by insurgents where he answered questions; an accompanying email accused Rutherford, then 26, of being a spy. In the video, Rutherford, who is from Toronto, insisted he was not a spy and had travelled to Afghanistan to study historical sites, old buildings and shrines. Rutherford's brother has called the Canadian's release "incredible news." "It absolutely is an enormous relief," Brian Rutherford said in a message to The Canadian Press. "My deepest gratitude to all those whose efforts have aided in Colin's safe release." Rutherford was working as an auditor with the Canadian Circulations Audit Board in Toronto when he went on vacation to Afghanistan. — with files from The Associated Press
"It absolutely is an enormous relief."