Taliban hostage Daniele Mastrogiacomo has been enjoying his first few hours of freedom after escaping a death threat in Afghanistan. Set free this afternoon the Italian journalist rang home immediately. “Thank you so much,” he told his colleagues at La Repubblica newspaper. The conversation was broadcast on La Repubblica’s website.
Mastrogiacomo added: “I want to thank my government for doing so much to help me. I knew Italy was with me. I held onto that in the desperate moments, when I was afraid they would kill me.” He said he had been kept in chains and moved endlessly during his two weeks in captivity, walking through the desert, night after night, and sleeping on the sand.
Back in Italy his brother said the family were just glad he was safe now. Alessandro Mastrogiacomo said Daniele is physically OK but mentally very tired. “When we told him what Italy had done to save his life he just cried. He was overwhelmed.” Nearly 100,000 Italians signed a petition calling on the Taliban to release the reporter. The Taliban did so eventually, but only after securing the freedom of five senior Taliban officials who were being held by Afghan authorities.