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Official: Journalist Is Released

October 7, 2001

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ A British journalist arrested last month after illegally entering Afghanistan was released Sunday, a senior Taliban official said.

Yvonne Ridley, 43, a reporter for the Sunday Express, had been trying to report on conditions here following the crisis over U.S. demands to turn over terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden.

``Today she has been released. She is free,″ Information Minister Qatradullah Jamal told The Associated Press in the Afghan capital, Kabul.

He said Ridley had yet not left Kabul as of Sunday afternoon, and it was unclear whether she would leave the country Sunday. It is a six-hour drive from Kabul to the Pakistani border.

Ridley was arrested south of the northeastern city of Jalalabad on Sept. 28 with two male Afghan guides. There was no immediate indication of what might happen to the Afghans.

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