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Swiss couple escape from Pakistan Taliban captivity

A Swiss couple held captive by the Pakistani Taliban for over eight months have been recovered safely, claiming they escaped their captors in the lawless tribal belt.

(REUTERS) Miranshah - Pakistani media identified the pair as Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 29. They were kidnapped in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan and had been held by the Taliban in the North Waziristan region on the Afghan border.

"They escaped, this is what they have told us," Pakistan army spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas told Reuters. "They reported to our checkpost then. They are being questioned at the moment in Peshawar."

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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