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|Freed Reporter from Afghanistan|
|10/08/01 at 19:37:41|
Freed reporter tells of relief
British journalist Yvonne Ridley has told of her
delight at having been freed by the Taleban.
Speaking from Pakistan, the Sunday Express
reporter said: "I'm fine, it's good to be here.
"They [the Taleban] treated me with respect
Her comments came just hours after she was
handed over at the Torkhum border crossing at
the foot of the Khyber Pass on Monday
"I would like to thank all those who have
worked for my release, including the Foreign
Office, the Pakistan Government and of course
my company Express Newspapers," she said.
"I am now desperate to get home to see my
There had been fears for her well-being after
the Allies launched missile attacks on Taleban
and al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan on
But her release was confirmed on Monday by
the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said:
"Yvonne Ridley has been handed over to
Pakistani officials with whom we have been
liaising closely since her detention.
"She has been met by consular staff of the
"She'll be taken to Islamabad this evening.
There'll be accommodation with the High
Ms Ridley, 43, was seized 11 days ago after
she crossed from Pakistan into eastern
The reporter was
arrested by the
Taleban, and there
were fears that she
could be put on trial for
entering the country
illegally or even spying.
The Taleban reportedly
ordered her release on
Sunday, but there were
concerns that this
might have been compromised by the attacks
on Sunday night.
On Monday, Mr Blair paid tribute to the
"tireless work" of the British High Commission,
the Foreign Office and the Pakistani
Government in securing Ms Ridley's release.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said he was
delighted she had been freed and could now be
reunited with her family.
"I know what a great relief this must be for
them, especially at such a difficult and
uncertain time," he said.
"I am sure that Yvonne's many friends and
journalist colleagues in the UK and all around
the world will welcome this news as much as I
News of Ms Ridley's release came as her
mother criticised the UK and US Governments
for going ahead with missile attacks on targets
in Afghanistan without knowing if her daughter
Joyce Ridley said that
before the attacks were
daughter had been a
She said she had just
been waiting for
transport to be
provided by the Taleban
at sunrise on Monday morning for the six-hour
journey through the Khyber Pass to the border,
where she was to be led to safety.
'Joy turned to dismay'
Mrs Ridley, speaking outside her home in West
Pelton, County Durham on Monday, said: "With
the start of the military action last night our
anticipated joy immediately turned to dismay.
Government said she
was coming home. Why
then could they not
delay the bombing for a
few hours? I just
cannot accept that."
Mrs Ridley said she had
spoken to her
Wednesday, when she
She said: "I will speak
to her tonight. She will be the first to know
when her mummy is free again."
According to the Sunday Express, Ms Ridley,
an experienced reporter who has worked for
several other national newspapers, had
entered the country to cover the humanitarian
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