For the moment: “The abduction of Ms. Giesbrecht, 53, has become a sensitive issue, and tribesmen of the embattled area are reluctant to speak on the matter openly.”
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN “” Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal region have decided to shelve plans to kill Canadian hostage Beverly Giesbrecht, but her captors are apparently still holding out for a ransom before releasing her.
“After broad-based consultations, the Shura [leadership council] has postponed indefinitely the plan to kill the woman,” said Qari, a close associate of Taliban commander Gul Bahadur who asked to be identified by his first name only.
The abduction of Ms. Giesbrecht, 53, has become a sensitive issue, and tribesmen of the embattled area are reluctant to speak on the matter openly. However, some locals said that while there is no hard information about her release, it could come at any time.
In a video released last month, the West Vancouver resident said her captors warned that they would behead her if their demands for $375,000 (U.S.) weren’t met by the end of March. That deadline was later extended to April 6.
She was seized at gunpoint in the Bannu region of northern Pakistan in November. The local government offered the captors a lower amount of money for her release, but it was rejected as “too little to be considered,” according to both a Taliban source and a tribal elder negotiating her release.
“For the time being, we failed to patch up the deal to secure her release,” said a tribal elder who is part of the negotiation team and who did not want his name revealed. “But I am optimistic she will be freed.”
Ms. Giesbrecht is a convert to Islam who also calls herself Khadija Abdul Qahaar. She publishes a pro-Islamic website, Jihad Unspun, and went to Pakistan last summer to conduct research as a freelance journalist.
When asked about reports of her deteriorating health, the tribal elder said: “I have not met or seen her, but we are told that she often feels weak and unwell.”
Neither sources within the Taliban nor the tribal negotiator would reveal any information about her translator or driver, who were also abducted. Taliban officials have previously said their fate would be decided once Ms. Giesbrecht’s situation is resolved….