German, four Afghan hostages freed

Ghazni, October 10:

A German engineer and four Afghans kidnapped in southern Afghanistan in mid-July were freed today in exchange for five Taliban prisoners, an official and a Taliban commander told AFP.

“The German engineer along with four Afghan hostages were freed in exchange for five Taliban prisoners,” said Mohammad Naeem, governor of Jaghato district in Wardak province. “The German engineer is in good health,” he said.

Rudolf Blechschmidt, 62, was captured in Wardak on July 18 with another German who fell sick and was shot dead. The men were seized with five Afghan colleagues, one of whom escaped.

Naeem said the exchange happened at the government intelligence office in the provincial capital Maidan Wardak.