Freed Japanese journalist believes Taliban involved in his release

19:29, September 07, 2010      

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Freed Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka said Tuesday in Tokyo although his captors were not Taliban, he did believe Taliban was involved in the negotiation of his release.

"I do believe Taliban was involved in the last days of negotiation of my release," the 41-year-old freelance journalist told reporters.

He said he was suspicious of the Taliban involvement partly because that three weeks before his release, the residence where he was held was located in a Taliban controlled area.

However, Tsuneoka repeated that he was almost certain that his abductors were not Taliban.

"The people I did see were surveillance soldiers, who said very clearly their commander was the Islamic leader," he said, adding that on April 18 the people suddenly "changed their story and said they were Taliban."

Tsuneoka called the Islamic group that captured him an "evil organization," which tried to "extort money" from Japan, "a neutral country in the Afghan war."

"They acted against jihad and Islamic spirit," said the journalist, who himself was Muslim and was apparently freed because of his religion.

Tsuneoka went missing in late March while traveling in Kunduz of Afghanistan to interview senior Taliban officials. On April 1, his friends received a message saying he had been kidnapped.

On Friday, two English-language messages were posted on his Twitter account, the first posting since April 1.

Tsuneoka said the messages were typed on a Nokia mobile phone of a lower rank soldier, which has GPRS Internet connection. Tsuneoka used the phone to teach the soldier how to use the Internet.

During his detention, Tsuneoka said his captors treated him well, with three meals a day normally and sometimes with meat.

A former radio reporter, Tsuneoka had been covering war-related stories as a freelance journalist, traveling to war zones in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:王千原雪)

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