NY Times reporter escapes Taliban Captivity


David Rohde, a New York Times reporter who was kidnapped by the Taliban, escaped Friday night and made his way to freedom after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mr. Rohde, along with a local reporter, Tahir Ludin, and their driver, Asadullah Mangal, was abducted outside Kabul, Afghanistan, on Nov. 10 while he was researching a book.

Mr. Rohde was part of The Times’s reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize this spring for coverage of Afghanistan and Pakistan last year.

Mr. Rohde told his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, that Mr. Ludin joined him in climbing over the wall of a compound where they were being held in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan. They made their way to a nearby Pakistani Frontier Corps base and on Saturday they were flown to the American military base in Bagram, Afghanistan.

“They just walked over the wall of the compound,” Ms. Mulvihill said.

The driver, Mr. Mangal, did not escape with the other two men. The initial report was that Mr. Rohde was in good health, while Mr. Ludin injured his foot in the escape.

Until now, the kidnapping has been kept quiet by The Times and other media organizations out of concern for the men’s safety.

“From the early days of this ordeal, the prevailing view among David’s family, experts in kidnapping cases, officials of several governments and others we consulted was that going public could increase the danger to David and the other hostages,” said Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times. “The kidnappers initially said as much. We decided to respect that advice, as we have in other kidnapping cases, and a number of other news organizations that learned of David’s plight have done the same. We are enormously grateful for their support.”

Since the men were abducted, there had been sporadic communication from them and from the kidnappers. Ms. Mulvihill expressed relief at the end of the ordeal and gratitude to the many people — official and unofficial — who offered information, advice and support.

“The family is so grateful to everyone who has helped — The New York Times, the U.S. government, all the others,” Ms. Mulvihill said. “Now we just hope to have a chance to reunite with him in peace.”
Apparently he was also kidnapped by Bosnian Serbs in the 1990s, after discovering too much. The bloke's lucky to be alive.

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