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Taliban Releases Austrian Far-Right Nationalist Herbert Fritz After Qatari Mediation

The Taliban has released Herbert Fritz, an 84-year-old Austrian far-right nationalist who was detained in Afghanistan last May. Following mediation by the Qatari government, Fritz arrived in Doha on Sunday, according to statements from the Austrian government.

Reports suggest that Fritz was apprehended after he traveled to Afghanistan and provided positive accounts of life in the country, fueling arguments against immigration and suggesting that Afghanistan was safe for refugees to return. He was reportedly arrested by the Taliban on suspicion of espionage.

Austria’s foreign ministry has been actively engaged in securing Fritz’s release since May, expressing gratitude to Qatar and the European Union representation in Kabul for their assistance in repatriating him.

Fritz, a founding member of Austria’s National Democratic Party (NDP), an extreme-right group banned in 1988, has been associated with far-right political circles, according to the Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance.

The far-right Freedom Party of Austria, currently leading in opinion polls ahead of parliamentary elections later this year, advocated for Fritz’s release, stating that he was in Afghanistan for research purposes.

While Qatar’s foreign ministry expressed appreciation to the Taliban administration for its cooperation in the release, Fritz has not yet commented on the situation.

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