I underestimated Taliban's extremism: Freed US reporter
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.