Kidnapping, particularly of journalists, is a big business in Afghanistan, with high rewards for those involved. It is thought, for example, that in October 2007 the Korean government paid millions of dollars to Taliban fighters for the release of a group of 19 Korean Christian missionaries. Despite protests from journalists working in Afghanistan who fear copycat kidnappings, money continues to be paid.
So it was with great relief that we read last week of the remarkable escape of New York Times journalist David Rohde and his Afghan fixer, Tahir Ludin, from a compound somewhere in North Waziristan. Rohde had been captured last November south of Kabul on his way to meet a local Taliban commander.
We will have to wait until Rohde publishes his own story to find out all the details, but in the meantime, New York magazine has published an excellent article on the case. Matthew Cole’s piece makes it clear that there is a lot more to this story than meets the eye. And don't forget that there are others still being held.