There have been positive signs in Afghanistan over the Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo, kidnapped by the Taliban two weeks ago.
Taliban leaders said he has been handed over to a third-party group after some of of the kidnappers’ demands were met.
A rebel spokesman said Kabul has released two Taliban officials from prison, but they’ll recapture and kill the journalist unless a third is freed.
Mastrogiacomo and two Afghan colleagues were snatched in Helmand province two weeks ago. It is a lawless region, and the focus of intensive Nato military operations.
In Kabul, the government re-doubled negotiation efforts when reports emerged last week that his Afghan driver had been executed by the kidnappers.
The Italian Aid group ‘Emergency’, which has been mediating in the crisis, warned the matter is far from over, and said the Taliban’s demands need to be met fully, but that those demands have, at times, changed.
In Rome, government officials acknowledged the reports that Mastrogiacomo has been moved to a halfway-house, but urged caution, saying he is not free yet, and things are still very delicate.
But his plight is still very much on the minds of Italians, as they carry on with their daily lives.