Friday, March 23, 2007
TRADED AND FREE
Five Taliban Prisoners Freed
.....In Exchange for Hostage
Yesterday, 5 Taliban prisoners were released back to the Taliban in exchange for the Italian reporter they were holding hostage. The reporter, Daniele Mastrogiacomo had witnessed the decapitation of his Afghan driver being held during the two weeks in captivity. He is alive and safe now. On the other side, one of the Taliban prisoners did not wish to be released to the insurgients. Was this a good deal on behalf of the Afghan government? Will there be any repercussions?
1:15 AM KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Italy's deputy foreign affairs minister confirmed Wednesday that the Afghan government released five Taliban prisoners to win the freedom of a reporter who had been kidnapped in lawless Helmand province.Daniele Mastrogiacomo, who writes for Italy's La Repubblica newspaper, was freed Monday after two weeks in captivity. He had been seized in southern Helmand province with his Afghan driver, who was beheaded, and his translator, whose whereabouts are unknown.Though the Afghan government called the swap "an exceptional case," the deal was sharply criticized."When we create situations where you can buy the freedom of Taliban fighters when you catch a journalist, in the short term there will be no journalists anymore," the Dutch foreign minister, Maxime Verhagen, said during a visit to Kabul on Wednesday. more...