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Taliban representatives talking to media regarding the fate of 21 South Korean hostages in 2007
Taliban representatives talking to media regarding the fate of 21 South Korean hostages in 2007Image: AP

Freed Japanese journalist says his kidnappers were not Taliban

September 6, 2010

Kosuke Tsuneoka, 41, released Sunday after five months of captivity, accuses "a corrupt military faction" instead.


Tsuneoka is a freelance journalist who has reported on conflicts in Iran, Georgia, Chechnya and other hotspots, arrived in Afghanistan in March only to go missing from the northern city of Kunduz a month later.

There have been reports in the Japanese as well as international media regarding negotiations ever since, ranging from demands for ransom amounting to several hundred thousand dollars to demands for the release of imprisoned comrades - the Taliban, too, having claimed the responsibility for Tsuneoka's kidnapping in the meantime.

Tsuneoka was finally released on Saturday in the Dasht-e Archi district of Kunduz, according to the provincial government. He spent Sunday at the Embassy of Japan in Kabul and was on his way home via Dubai on Monday, but not before he let it be known by means of a Twitter message that "the culprits are not Taliban. They are a corrupt military faction." - Tsuneoka's post in Japanese claims that the kidnappers have been blackmailing the Japanese government, pretending to be the Taliban.

The question whether ransom was paid for his release, remains equally unclear, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku claiming that neither the Japanese government, nor the family of the kidnapped journalist had paid any ransom.

Tsuneoka's further descriptions of the group's senior commanders as being "totally corrupt", while their subordinates were "good people" cannot be verified at present.

Editor: Thomas Baerthlein

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