The Taliban hostage, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, has finally been handed over to Italian officials in Afghanistan. He was released a short time ago, along with his Afghan interpreter, after two weeks in captivity, threatened with execution. They were kidnapped while on assignment in the southern Helmand province.
Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi declared himself delighted at the news. “It is only now that I can send my sympathies to the family of Mastrogiacomo for all they have suffered in the past few days, as well as the director of La Republica who has followed this story step by step. It was an extremely complicated matter,” he said.
The reporter is now at a hospital run by the NGO “Emergency” which was involved in the negotiations for his release. He arrived there by car and said he was in good health and very grateful. He is expected to return to Italy as soon as possible, where his wife has been waiting for news at the offices of his newspaper, La Republica. Her hopes were raised yesterday when the Taliban said they would let him go, but they then reneged on the deal claiming Italy had not satisfied all their ransom demands.