World in brief: Ambassador returns after kidnapping
Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan returned home Saturday three months after he was kidnapped on the main highway through Pakistan’s wild border region.
The release of Tariq Azizuddin came as the government seeks to negotiate peace deals to curb Islamic militancy along the Afghan border – an approach viewed with apprehension in the West. However, senior Pakistani official Rehman Malik said the envoy was freed Friday through a “law enforcement action” and the government had made no concessions in return.
Azizuddin vanished Feb. 11 along with his driver and bodyguard as they drove from the city of Peshawar toward the Afghan border. On Saturday, Azizuddin told reporters that his captors twice hit him on the head with a rifle after abducting him and forced him to read a videotaped statement at gunpoint.
1,000 detained in crackdown
Nearly 1,000 people have been detained in a sweep to break al-Qaida in Iraq’s sway in Iraq’s third largest city, Mosul, but many of the fighters have fled to nearby areas, where troops are hunting for them, Iraqi officials said Saturday.
Iraq’s leaders presented the crackdown as a success so far in depriving the terrorism network of what has been its most prominent urban stronghold since it lost hold of cities in Iraq’s western Anbar province.
Yassin Majid, an adviser to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said most of the leading insurgents had fled to the outskirts of Mosul or to a neighboring country amid the operations. He did not name the neighboring country. Mosul is about 60 miles from the Syrian and Turkish borders. “Operations will continue and the Iraqi army will not leave Mosul until security and stability have been accomplished,” he said.
Royal heir weds at Windsor Castle
The eldest grandson of Queen Elizabeth II married his Canadian fiancée Saturday in a private ceremony at Windsor Castle.
Peter Phillips and Autumn Kelly wed at the castle’s 15th-century St. George’s Chapel in front of 300 guests including the queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and Phillips’ mother, Princess Anne.
Phillips – the 11th in line to the throne – met Kelly in 2003, when both were working at the Montreal Grand Prix. Phillips did not immediately reveal he was a royal – Kelly later said she made the discovery when she spotted her husband-to-be in a program about Prince William.
The couple, both 30, live in London.