Italian journalist freed by Afghan captors
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo was released by his Taliban captors in Afghanistan, Monday, after having been kidnapped and held hostage since March 5, 2007. Mastrogiacomo's intrepreter is believed to have been released as well, though no details are reported.
Mastrogiacomo, a reporter with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, was taken captive in Helmand Province along with his Afghan interpreter and his driver, while attempting to obtain interviews with members of the Taliban.
In a television interview after his release, Mastrogiacomo expressed his gratitude to those that worked for his release. "I'm very happy, I thank you all. I knew you wouldn't abandon me", said Mastrogiacomo.
He also described some horrors that he witnessed while in captivity. Syed Agha had been killed in front of him by their captors. "I saw him being decapitated, it was horrific", Mastrogiacomo recalled.
The driver, Syed Agha was reportedly decapitated by his captors for "spying" in the presence of Mastrogiacomo. Agha's family blockaded the hospital in Lashkar Gah where Mastrogiacomo was being treated, demanding to know what happened to Agha. For reasons still unclear, security forces arrested the head of that hospital, Rahamatullah Hanafi.
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi suggested it was not a simple task to secure Mastrogiacomo's release, which was obtained with the help of Italian authorities, humanitarian officials and the Afghan government.
According to Italian officials, Mastrogiacomo is to travel to Kabul on Tuesday and then secure a flight to Italy.
- "Captive speaks of Taleban horror" — , March 20, 2007
- "Family of Italian's dead Afghan driver protest" — , March 20, 2007
- Sabina Castelfranco. "Italian Journalist Freed in Afghanistan" — , March 19, 2007
- "Afghan rebels free Italian newsman" — , March 19, 2007
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