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Taleban Frees Turkish Hostage - 2003-11-30

A Turkish engineer abducted by Taleban insurgents in Afghanistan is free after more than a month in captivity. The engineer, Hassan Onal, was freed Sunday and turned over to the Afghan government.

A man identifying himself as a leader of insurgents loyal to Afghanistan's former Taleban regime contacted news agencies, claiming responsibility for the October 28 kidnapping.

He said he decided to release Mr. Onal mainly because he was a fellow Muslim, but also cited the Afghan government's decision to free two Taleban prisoners last week.

Afghan officials say there was no deal made or ransom offered to secure the Turkish engineer's release.

Mr. Onal had been working on a road construction project in the southern province of Zabul at the time of his abduction.