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18 August 2005 -- Purported neo-Taliban captors today released a Lebanese engineer kidnapped last week after the Lebanese-owned company that employs him agreed to cease operations in Afghanistan.
A neo-Taliban spokesman said Nur al-Din Muhammad Reza was freed near a U.S. base in Shajoy, Zabul Province. (The name of the hostage has also variously been reported as Safi al-Dini Rida, Nur al-Din Muhommad Rida, and Mohammad Reza.)
Afghan authorities confirmed the release and said the man was in good health.
It was not immediately clear whether any ransom was paid.
Suspected Taliban members have kidnapped several Turkish and Indian nationals working on road projects in Zabul in the past, but have released them unharmed after ransoms were paid. Initial agency reports suggested his employer, Sofan, is a Turkish company, although the Beirut-based "Daily Star" refuted that information and described it as a diesel-generator company owned by a Lebanese national.
The neo-Taliban said the company has agreed to pull out of Afghanistan. There was no word yet on whether the company followed up on its purported pledge.
"Afghan Officials Searching For Kidnapped Engineer"