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Taliban captures Canadian national in Ghazni in 2010, released 2016

The Bread Guy

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NOTE:  As of this post, there's been no mainstream media confirmation of this incident.  I first spotted this when ISAF public affairs shared this via Twitter post ~0730E/1230UTC.  The ISAF Twitter post links to this from Iranian media , which has had some.... reliability issues in the past).

This from the Taliban's web site (usual caveats about clicking on the link):
Mackenzie Rutherford Colin, a Canadian national, living in 166 Street, Toronto City, Canada has gotten captured in Ghazni City, the capital of the province of the same name.  He has been involved in some clandestine activities to get some fugitive information especially to learn about whereabouts of the Mujahideen, according to the admission of suspect.  Mujahideen gotten some documents out of the suspect describing him as a secrete agent.
You can click here to see a screen capture of the statement at a non-terrorist site (Scribd.com).

- mod edit to update thread title with conclusion -
 

ModlrMike

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Not found in Canada 411. I'm sure CSIS would be interested in this.
 

Old Sweat

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This story from the National Post website is reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act:

Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011

Canadian Foreign Affairs officials confirmed Sunday that a Canadian tourist has gone missing in Afghanistan, after the Taliban issued a statement claiming that it had captured a Canadian “spy” in the eastern province of Ghazni.

The tourist is a Canadian citizen named Colin Rutherford, said Emmanuelle Lamoureux of Foreign Affairs.

“Canadian officials are working with Afghan authorities to assist the family in securing the safe release of their loved one,” she said in an emailed response to questions.

In a statement posted on what purports to be a website of the Taliban, the insurgents claim they have captured a Canadian named “Mackenzie Rutherford Colin” in Ghazni city, the province’s capital.

“He has been involved in some clandestine activities to get some fugitive information, especially to learn about whereabouts of the Mujahideen, according to admission of suspect,” the statement said. “Mujahideen gotten some documents out of the suspect describing him as a secret agent.”

Mujahideen – or holy warrior - is the term used by the Taliban for insurgent fighters.
 

PuckChaser

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Who the heck goes to Afghanistan as a tourist?
 

The Bread Guy

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ModlrMike said:
Not found in Canada 411. I'm sure CSIS would be interested in this.
As we can see from Old Sweat's post, the Taliban are not good at keeping Western names in the right order.
 

Haletown

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PuckChaser said:
Who the heck goes to Afghanistan as a tourist?

Maybe the same kind of people who take hiking vacations in Iraq and wander into Iran?
 

The Bread Guy

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Same general details confirmed by the Canadian Press and CTV.ca.

Here's DFAIT's assessment of how safe (NOT) it is to travel to AFG these days:
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to Afghanistan. Canadians undertaking travel despite this warning take serious risks. Canadians already in Afghanistan should leave. The security situation remains extremely volatile and unpredictable.

Terrorism is a continuous threat throughout Afghanistan. The threat to foreign nationals, including Canadians, from terrorist and criminal violence is extremely high. Numerous attacks have occurred in reputable public areas, as well as against Afghan and international institutions. Targets have included hotels, embassies, and government buildings; however, no location can be considered exempt from risk. Canadians should be particularly vigilant in the lead-up to and on days of national significance. Suicide bombs, rockets, improvised explosive devices, armed assaults, and ambushes are among the tactics used in these attacks. Overland travel outside Kabul is extremely dangerous, and is restricted by the Afghan government only to those with armed security. Several security incidents have occurred on the highway between Kabul and Kandahar. Bogus checkpoints may be set up in order to commit attacks. Extreme caution should always be exercised, particularly in public areas frequented by foreigners (hotels, restaurants, shops, and marketplaces) ....
 

Navalsnpr

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Should create a new category for the Darwin Awards:

Tourism in a War Zone
 

Colin Parkinson

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People go there for work or just to find out what's going on. Here are some posts, thought it might be the same guy but not.

http://canada-afghanistan.blogspot.com/
 

The Bread Guy

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A bit more detail from AFP:
.... In a statement published Sunday on an Internet site, a Taliban group said it had captured a Canadian citizen in the province of Ghazni, accusing him of being a spy sent to discover the insurgent group's hideouts.  A Taliban spokesman, identified as Zabihullah, said in the statement that the group planned to publish a video of the hostage. 
He also said contact had been made with an "official delegation" from the Canadian government, but had received "no positive" reply to its demands ....
 

Armymedic

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I am going to guess it is going to be a memorable week for someone.
 

The Bread Guy

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... from the Globe & Mail....
Three months after a 27-year-old Canadian traveller disappeared in Afghanistan, the Taliban say they have captured the man and have accused him of being a foreign spy.
After the Taliban released the man’s name Sunday, a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa confirmed that “Colin Rutherford, a Canadian citizen, is missing in Afghanistan after travelling to the country as a tourist.”  "He was seeking to learn Pashto during his travels," a Foreign Affairs spokesman said without providing further details …. One friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, said Mr. Rutherford is just a globe-trotting former University of Toronto student with a yen for exotic countries.
“He’s a sweet person with good intentions,” said the friend, adding that Mr. Rutherford was never vocal about his political views.  It wasn’t clear why the Taliban made the announcement Sunday. The Taliban also called Afghan journalists in Kandahar to trumpet the news.  The friend said the RCMP had been investigating Mr. Rutherford’s disappearance as early as November ….

.... and the National Post/Postmedia News:
A young Canadian traveller who reportedly visited one of the most perilous corners of Afghanistan to learn Pashto, the native tongue of the Taliban, has gone missing, with the insurgents claiming they have captured a Canadian “secret agent” by the same name …. One version of the insurgents’ communiqué, translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, said that they planned to release a video of the hostage soon, and had already made unspecified demands for his release to the Canadian government …. When asked about the claims he was spying, another department official, Claude Rochon, said later only that Mr. Rutherford was in the country to learn Pashto …. A woman who answered the phone at a home belonging to a family member of the missing man offered a polite “no comment” when asked about Mr. Rutherford ….

edited to add:  If you want to check out the Arabic and Pashto versions of the original Taliban statement, check here.
 

Rifleman62

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Two Comments posted at the National Post and a probably hint as to how this story will go.:

1. Michael: What a wasted trip.  This fool could have learned pashto at his local convenience store or at a Pioneer gas station.

2. Damned Harper. Sending these Canadian spies all around the world, It's just a plot, you know, to keep Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan after July, since now they will have to mount an offensive to rescue Mr. Rutherford. No, wait, maybe Rutherford is a member of the Liberal youth wing, planted by Ignatieff just to embarrass Harper. I can't wait for question period today. You want to bet that the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc won't be united in their cries that the Conservatives are not doing enough to save this young man's butt? I'm betting they will - 2 to 1 odds.

    Micheal, I like your advice. Multicultural Canadians certainly don't have to travel far to learn a foreign language - just visit your local ethnic ghetto of choice.
 

The Bread Guy

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Rifleman62 said:
.... I can't wait for question period today. You want to bet that the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc won't be united in their cries that the Conservatives are not doing enough to save this young man's butt? I'm betting they will - 2 to 1 odds ....
I'd be surprised if it DIDN'T come up in QP.

Meanwhile, some tidbits via CBC.ca:
.... "This morning, through an interpreter, CBC contacted a Taliban spokesperson who claims they have taken Rutherford because he was working as a spy and tracking down Taliban fighters," CBC's Peter Akman said Monday.  The Taliban claim to have confiscated some documents from the Ontario man that they say prove he was working as a secret agent, Akman said.  "The Taliban say Rutherford is being kept somewhere safe and it's expected they'll soon release a video of him," Akman (said) ..... The police chief in Ghazni province confirmed that Rutherford was living in the region for almost a month and that he was seen dressed in local clothing several times ....
 

The Bread Guy

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milnews.ca said:
Rifleman62 said:
.... I can't wait for question period today. You want to bet that the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc won't be united in their cries that the Conservatives are not doing enough to save this young man's butt? I'm betting they will - 2 to 1 odds.
I'd be surprised if it DIDN'T come up in QP.
I have to stand corrected on this one - the only strictly Afghanistan issue that came up yesterday, apart from a few mentions of Afghanistan here and there as part of other questions, was an NDP petition calling for the troops to GTFO Afghanistan.
 

The Bread Guy

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Via Afghan media:
Taliban militants on Monday said they had offered to free a Canadian citizen held hostage for two months in return for the release of several of their captured comrades...-PAJHWOK REPORT
 

George Wallace

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milnews.ca said:
Via Afghan media:
Taliban militants on Monday said they had offered to free a Canadian citizen held hostage for two months in return for the release of several of their captured comrades...-PAJHWOK REPORT

Well.  If these guys were being held as "Suspected" Taliban, I guess this only confirms that they really are. 

This story confirms a several things to me.  I have my opinion of a certain university reinforced.  My opinion that there are still many dangerous places with evil people still exist is acknowledged.  My opinion that it is much too soon to contemplate visiting this Region as a tourist or job seeker, is confirmed.  I have my opinion that there really are people worthy of the Darwin Awards confirmed.     
 

The Bread Guy

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George Wallace said:
My opinion that there are still many dangerous places with evil people still exist is acknowledged.  My opinion that it is much too soon to contemplate visiting this Region as a tourist or job seeker, is confirmed.

It seems even some of this man's buddies now get it - this from an American friend who worries, and hopes for the best:
Spring break starts soon. Most of us cannot wait to take a break from school, and perhaps travel or take advantage of the beautiful weather Savannah has been enjoying.

But a pall has been thrown over my semester. On Feb. 27, I found out that the Taliban was holding a good friend of mine, Colin Rutherford, captive. He isn't military. He is a Canadian who went to Afghanistan in hopes of learning about the culture and peoples of Afghanistan firsthand. He went not only to learn, but also as a humanitarian.

According to his captors, Colin is a spy. They claim he has admitted to being a spy, and that they have found evidence of such activity in his belongings. They also admitted to having interrogated him over the last three months that they have held him. What would most of us admit to in that time, under those conditions?

Every day since the Taliban admitted to being behind his disappearance, I have combed the news hoping to see something positive. The family is not at liberty to discuss what is currently happening behind the scenes, at the behest of the Canadian government, to anyone.

Since I got the news, I have not been able to eat or sleep well. Nightmares plague me, and both my school and work performance have been greatly affected in a negative way. I feel like a cast member in a real-life horror movie. I never dreamed that a non-combatant friend of mine would ever be in such a situation.

We as students need to recognize that terrorism does not only happen to other people. Terrorists exist to cause fear, and through that fear they gain power. Colin was not afraid to go into a place that has been torn by war to try to help people who are different from himself, and to help them on their terms instead of his. It may not have been the brightest thing to do, but it was brave and motivated by a good heart.

He may not come home alive or, if alive, not whole and sound. I pray every day for him. I hope I will get to see him again and hug him and tell him that I am proud of him for wanting to bring something positive into a bastion of terror.
 

The Bread Guy

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Usual caveats re: linking to Taliban sites and accuracy of information - will share non-terrorist links when available:
Remarks of Islamic Emirate’s Spokesman regarding Canadian detainee’s (Colin McKenzie Rutherford) vid(eo)
Sunday, 08 May 2011 18:05 -
Remarks of Islamic Emirate’s Spokesman regarding Canadian detainee’s (Colin McKenzie Rutherford) video and case

A few months earlier, Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate captured a Canadian national, a resident of Toronto city and an agent of this country’s spy agency (Colin McKenzie Rutherford) in Ghazni province.

The mentioned person came under Mujahideen surveillance before his capture because of his suspicious actions. The documents seized and investigations carried out after his arrest showed that he had entered the country while working for a spy agency and had been working as an active spy for a long time, gathering intelligence information about Mujahideen.

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, through an earlier released statement asked the Canadian government to accept the terms laid out by Islamic Emirate in order to solve this case and once again re-iterates itself to the Canadian government to take urgent steps to solve this case or this detainee could face a trial. The video of the detainee has been released as promised by Islamic Emirate, which can be viewed at the following link.

www.alemarah-iea.net/1111.wmv

Spokesman of Islamic Emirate

Zabihullah Mujahid

08/05/2011
Article link here.
 

The Bread Guy

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Video now downloadable from non-terrorist source (2:30 in length, 3.8MB) here.
 
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