Yvonne Ridley, the Sunday Express journalist who was being held by the Taliban after entering Afghanistan without documentation, should be on her way home from Pakistan within days.
Ridley was handed over to British diplomats at the Torkhum border crossing at the foot of the Khyber Pass on Monday afternoon, where she told reporters that she had been on hunger strike to protest at her captivity.
It had been feared earlier that air strikes may hold up the release of the journalist, who was being held for entering the country illegally and faced trial by the Taliban authorities.
News of her impending release had come over the weekend after diplomatic efforts from the Government and pleas from Express Newspapers editorial director Paul Ashford and his Urdu-speaking lawyer, who were in Islamabad on Friday
Last week, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw spoke personally to Ridley’s mother to assure her his department was doing all it could for her daughter, after news that she was to be put on trial for entering Afghanistan without papers.
Ridley was arrested last week near Jalalabad accompanied by two Afghan guides but with no documentation. The fate of her guides is still not known.
By Jean Morgan