Washington: A New York Times reporter kidnapped by the Taliban in 2008 and held for seven months in Pakistan has said he had underestimated Taliban`s extremism and the strength of its supporters in Pakistan.
"Over those months, I came to a simple realisation," the reporter, David Rohde, wrote about his ordeal. "After seven years of reporting in the region, I did not fully understand how extreme many of the Taliban had become."
He said that before the kidnapping, he viewed the organisation as a form of "al Qaeda lite," a religiously motivated movement primarily focused on controlling Afghanistan.
But after spending time in captivity, he said he had realised that the goal of the hard-line Taliban was far more ambitious.
"They wanted to create a fundamentalist Islamic emirate with al Qaeda that spanned the Muslim world," the writer noted.
He said he had known before about the ties between Pakistan`s intelligence services and the Taliban and knew Pakistan had turned a blind eye to many of their activities.
"But I was astonished by what I encountered firsthand: a Taliban mini-state that flourished openly and with impunity," Rohde pointed out.