A Kidnapping From Two Sides
On Sale: November 30, 2010
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The compelling and insightful account of a New York Times
reporter's abduction by the Taliban, and his wife's struggle
to free him.
Invited to an interview by a Taliban commander, New York
Times reporter David Rohde and two Afghan colleagues were
kidnapped in November 2008 and spirited to the tribal areas
of Pakistan. For the next seven months, they lived in an
alternate reality, ruled by jihadists, in which paranoia,
conspiracy theories, and shifting alliances abounded. Held
in bustling towns, they found that Pakistan's powerful
military turned a blind eye to a sprawling Taliban ministate
that trained suicide bombers, plotted terrorist attacks, and
helped shelter Osama bin Laden.
In New York, David's wife of two months, Kristen Mulvihill,
his family, and The New York Times struggled to navigate the
labyrinth of issues that confront the relatives of hostages.
Their methodical, Western approach made little impact on the
complex mix of cruelty, irrationality, and criminality that
characterizes the militant Islam espoused by David's captors.
In the end, a stolen piece of rope and a prayer ended the
captivity. The experience tested and strengthened Mulvihill
and Rohde's relationship and exposed the failures of
American effort in the region. The tale of those seven
months is at once a love story and a reflection of the great
cultural divide-and challenge-of our time.
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