A video of a German engineer kidnapped by the Taliban over a month ago has been shown on Afghan television. Rudolf Blechschmidt is heard appealing to his family and the German government to secure his release. Blechschmidt was seized with another German and five Afghans a day before 23 South Koreans were also taken hostage by the Taliban. Two of them have since been shot and two others released.
The second German died within days after suffering heart problems. In the video, Blechschmidt says medicine for his own heart condition will only last for three more days.
He reveals he is high up in the mountains with the Taliban. If government officials do not meet Taliban demands soon though, he and the five Afghan hostages will be killed, he adds.
The Taliban want Berlin to withdraw all of the 3,300 German troops from Afghanistan. Despite pressure from opposition parties and public opinion, the German government has refused to do so, although parliament will vote next month on whether to renew the troops’ mandate in the country.