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Taliban free Swiss hostages

A Swiss couple held captive by the Taliban in Pakistan since July 2011 have been freed.

The couple from Bern were filmed by local television smiling and waving as they alighted from a military helicopter at Rawalpindi military base near Islamabad, where they had been transported by Pakistani authorities.

In a statement on Thursday, the Swiss government said embassy officials in Islamabad were in direct contact with the couple, who were in good health.

Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter told a press conference he was relieved the couple had been released and thanked Pakistani authorities for their assistance in the matter.

Details about the release of the couple remain sketchy. Burkhalter said that no ransom had been paid to secure the release of the couple. 

Pakistani security officials said the couple turned up at a military post in the North Waziristan region and were taken by army helicopter on Thursday to the northwestern city of Peshawar.

Pakistan’s Taliban claimed responsibility for kidnapping the couple, who were seized from the Loralai district of southwestern Baluchistan province on July 1. The two Swiss, in their late twenties and early thirties, had been travelling in the remote region.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR