Taliban commander Waliur Rehman said his group ordered the kidnapping in order to gain freedom for Aafia Siddiqui. — File photo

SHAWAL: The Pakistani Taliban's No. 2 commander said his group has custody of two kidnapped Swiss tourists, and that it will free them if the US releases imprisoned female Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui.

The Swiss pair was abducted in the southwest Balochistan province earlier this month.

Taliban commander Waliur Rehman spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday in South Waziristan, a northwest tribal region.

He said his group ordered the kidnapping in order to gain freedom for Aafia Siddiqui, a US-educated mother of three who is serving 86 years in an American jail for trying to kill US officials in Afghanistan.

Rehman said the Swiss have not been tortured.

But he said that if Siddiqui is not freed, a Taliban court will decide the fate of the pair.

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