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Afghan Taliban Releases 4 Kidnapped Turkish Engineers

Afghan Taliban Releases 4 Kidnapped Turkish Engineers

Afghanistan's Taliban movement has released four Turkish engineers who were kidnapped last December in the eastern province of Paktia.

The insurgent group handed over the four Turks to the International Committee of the Red Cross in neighboring Ghazni province late Saturday into early Sunday.

The Taliban said it freed the men as a humanitarian gesture in honor of Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim festival that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. One of the released hostages, who gave his name only as Imam, told the French news agency that he and his compatriots were not tortured in captivity.

Gunmen abducted the four Turks and their Afghan driver on December 26, 2010 while the five men were traveling in Paktia. Afghan officials said the Turkish engineers worked for a company building border posts in the area.

Afghan insurgents occasionally have kidnapped foreigners in recent years, releasing some after negotiations, but killing others.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.