A West Vancouver woman held by the Taliban has allegedly passed away in the border region of Pakistan-Afghanistan.
Qahaar, who changed her name from Beverly Giesbrecht, was captured by the Taliban in November 2008. In a video published on the Globe and Mail’s website on March 20, 2009, Qahaar said that she expected to be killed by the end of that month.
The India Express report states that according to Salman Khan, Qahaar’s translator who was captured with her but later released, Qahaar has long been sick with hepatitis.
Qahaar was not being subjected to “physical punishment” by her Taliban captors, the report continues.
India Express only attributed news of Qahaar’s death to a “source”.
Qahaar traveled to Pakistan in April 2007 where she worked as a self-described freelance journalist. She was reportedly taken hostage by the Taliban while travelling through North Waziristan, a region of Pakistan’s lawless tribal belt.
The 53-year-old woman was a born-again Christian until shortly after the September 11 attacks, when she embraced Islam. For several years, she maintained a website where she regularly espoused ideas and arguments similar to those of Islamic fundamentalists.
Canada’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs could not immediately confirm or deny news of Qahaar’s death.
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