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Taliban Released Canadian Hostage on 'Humanitarian Grounds'

FILE - In this image released by the SITE Intelligence Group, Canadian hostage Colin Rutherford is shown in an Afghan Taliban video on its website on May 8, 2011.

The Taliban said Tuesday it was convinced by Qatari mediators to release a Canadian man on humanitarian grounds after holding him hostage in Afghanistan for nearly five years.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister announced Monday the release of Colin Rutherford, who went to Afghanistan in 2010 and was reported missing in February 2011. A Taliban video three months later accused him of spying, but Rutherford said he was a tourist interested in "history and historical sites, old buildings, shrines."

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Tuesday that Qatar's mediation led the group's leadership to release Rutherford "purely on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with Islamic ethics."

Dion said Canada sends its "heartfelt thanks" to the government of Qatar for its role.

"Canada is very pleased that efforts undertaken top secure the release of Colin Rutherford from captivity have been successful," he said. "We look forward to Mr. Rutherford being able to return to Canada and reunite with his family and loved ones.

Details on how and where Rutherford was released are unavailable. It is also unclear where Rutherford is now.