Home at last – Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo was greeted by family and friends as he arrived back in Rome last night. But the euphoria of his release after two weeks of captivity at the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan was tempered by concern Italy paid too high a price for his freedom.
Although Rome has not officially confirmed Kabul released five Taliban, a spokesman for the Afghan president Hamid Karzai said there had been a transaction, but gave no further details. Italy’s right-wing opposition has criticised the government, saying it was hypocritical for it to negotiate with the very Taliban its forces in Afghanistan are fighting. The Taliban reportedly hailed the abduction as a victory.
Mastrogiacomo was seized along with his translator who is still being held and his driver who was beheaded in front of him. He wrote about his ordeal in Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday. While the Afghan ambassador to Rome has welcomed a proposal by Italy for an international peace conference on Afghanistan, he has rejected the prospect of any Taliban participation.