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I underestimated Taliban`s extremism: Freed US reporter

Last Updated: Sunday, October 18, 2009 - 11:38

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.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, October 18, 2009 - 11:38

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