An Italian journalist seized by the Taliban in Afghanistan did not cite troop withdrawal as a condition for his release during a message taped by his captors. Daniele Mastrogiacomo said he was arrested by the Taleban for straying into their territory, and urged the Italian government to secure his freedom.
The Italian aid agency Emergency passed the video to officials, but would not get involved in hostage negotiations, said founder Gino Strada:
“We are independent and neutral and act as a conduit for dialogue, “ he told reporters, “we are ready to provide humanitarian support, and we are glad to see Daniele is in good health and bearing up well.”
Mastrogiacomo was accused of being a spy for the British after being picked up on March the 5th in Helmand Province. His newspaper, La Repubblica, has repeatedly denied the claims and stressed the 52 year old’s credentials as a long serving correspondent.
The Taliban have previously called on Romano Prodi’s government to withdraw its 1,900 troops from Afghanistan in return for Mastrogiacomo’s release.