Spanish Pundit (II)

marzo 20, 2007

Italian reporter freed…

after been obliged to see his driver’s beheading. No Burqa reported that he has been beheaded because he had been “confirmed a spy“, a custom now in Afghanistan, as I blogged here some days ago.

If I had only read that, I should say that this man was a poor soul, what a terrible moment….

And it was all of that. But Italian journalist Mastrogiacomo is also a lucky man because he has been freed because Italian and Afghan Government had released five Taliban who were in prison. So the euphoria over the release of an Italian reporter kidnapped in Afghanistan was tempered on Tuesday by concern that Rome and Kabul paid too high a price for his freedom.

The Jawa Report:

Unfortunately everyone who works for the NGO called Ewergency is now in danger. Once the Taliban figure out how easy it was to extort concessions from the Italians they will use this.
So the reporter got his story. It only cost the release of five terrorists and his driver’s life. Some bargain, I hope it was worth it.

But what about the driver’s life? Are Afghan’s lifes less worthy than Italians/Westerners? Why exchange the journalist and not the driver for 5 Talibans? [At first only 3 were asked by Taliban…].

A Conservative’s Mind remembers the editorial of the italian newspaper La Repubblica (where Mastroiacomo works), from March 3rd 1978, titled “No agreements with terrorists”. They are refering to the kidnapping of Aldo Moro. He was killed on May 9th, 1978 by the Red Italian Brigades.

Aldo Moro, killed by the terrorists of the Red Brigades.

Joyce: “Lui libero, il giornalismo no”, that is, “He is free, journalism isn’t“.

Mastroiacomo, with turban, from Psicocafe, who writes about the Stockholm syndrome.

Italia web reclaims to know every condition to which Italian Government has obliged because of this release and adds that a hundred people had gone to the NGO Emergenza where Mastrogiacomo is now, to ask for news about the other two hostages: Sayed Agha, the driver who was killed by the Talibans and Ajmal Naskhbandi, the interpret who has been freed but has not arrived to Emergenza. They were also protesting against Karzai’s Government and accusing him of not having done what it was needed for them.

Il Mango di Treviso: Freed, but what price paid?

Mondo Piccolo: Except Mastroiacomo being with Stockholm syndrome, I do not think he would agree with Fausto Bertinotte’s proposal of inviting the Taliban to a peace table in Afghanistan.

Lento all’ira e ricco di grazia: The Berlusconi’s Government has paid millions of euros to free Italian hostages in Iraq and Afghanistan. […] But nothing compared to a so great irresponsibility. […] I can imagine that in Afghanistan, different from Iraq in this, there are very important difficulties to find mediators, but that this meads that our Government should be on telly saying it is in a mood to accept all demands of the kidnappers? Because that is what the Government has said. […] And the Taliban are our enemies, aren’t they?

La syndrome di Accab: I am beginning to understand I am a citizen, status B, while Mastroiacomo is a citizen, status A.

Orpheus: The Taliban have cut the nose and one ear to 5 afghani as a punishment for working for the American army.

Le guerre civile: “What are our soldiers doing in Kabul? While the NATO military are enjoyed in a true and real war –eh, well, do not tell that to Zapatero: for him, it is only a peaceful and marvellous mission- the Italian soldiers have to support the continous political control of their mission from the majority which governs (the maximalist left)”. He adds that the mediator, Rahmatullah Hanefi, has been arrested by the Afghan secret service.

Related news:

Italy pays 100.000€ to Abdelmoname Ben Khalifa Mansour, a Tunisian who was arrested in March 2002 on charges of belonging to a group with links to Al Qaeda. Later, he has been exonerated. h/t: Free Thoughts.

From Christian Science Monitor: Afghan villagers stand guard to protect schools.

The hazel-eyed 8-year-old still has a ways to go before she becomes a surgeon, which she confidently proclaims as her life’s goal. Yet graduating from grade school is one important step – and on Feb. 10, 2006, that seemed almost impossible.

Overnight, the Medrawer Girls School was burned to a charred husk by terrorists determined to prevent local girls from reading textbooks and learning geometry. Smoke still curled above the surrounding eucalyptus grove as the students arrived for class – their hopes of an education, and the better life it promised, vanishing in the morning sunshine.

Even then, however, the village elders were beginning to formulate a decision that would change the lives of Atefa and – some would say – girls across Afghanistan. Later that day, they decided to take protection of the school into their own hands, cobbling together a corps of village volunteers that has stood watch over the now-rebuilt school every night since, sometimes armed only with spare farm tools and ancient swords passed down as family heirlooms.

There hasn’t been an attack since.

Taliban kidnappings rise, style differs from Al-Qaeda:

Mastrogiacomo’s capture and release are a window into why the Taliban have been more tolerant of journalists than has Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda in Iraq has … the idea that all foreigners are the enemy. This has never been the case with the Taliban,” says Ahmed Rashid, author of “Taliban.”

Instead, the Taliban have targeted those they see to be working for the current Western-backed government, whether they be politicians, Western troops, or contractors and aid workers. This also might have played into the abduction of Mastrogiacomo. The Taliban initally misidentified him as a British writer named John Nichol – who had previously been a member of the Royal Air Force – calling Mastrogiacomo a British spy.

The Taliban consider themselves the legitimate Afghan government, and require journalists to alert them of their plans to travel through Taliban-controlled areas. In the past, most journalists have been detained for not alerting the Taliban of their travel plans, and then released once Taliban authorities have established that they were not spies or government officials.

No, he has been released, not because Taliban are different from Al-Qaeda, but because both the Italian and Afghan Government have done what they were told.

US ambassador in Kabul: 5 staff members were hurt and one 15-year-old bystander was killed by a suicide bomber (from

Siento no traducir los posts, pero es que no tengo mucho tiempo. Intentaré poner la traducción en los próximos días.

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