Suspect Nabbed in Kidnap of US Journalist

Afghan man could face life sentence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2020 5:50 PM CDT
Alleged Kidnapper of NYT Journalist Brought to US
This April 9, 1996 photo shows David Rohde, then of the Christian Science Monitor, at a mass grave site in Kravice, Bosnia.   (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

An alleged former Taliban commander accused of kidnapping an American journalist in Afghanistan 12 years ago has been arrested and brought to the US. According to an indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court Wednesday, 42-year-old Haji Najibullah faces charges including hostage taking, conspiracy, and kidnapping, and could get a life sentence, the New York Times reports. David Rohde was working for the Times in 2008 when he was kidnapped and held for seven months. He escaped along with an Afghan journalist in 2009 after they climbed the wall of a compound in Pakistan's tribal region and made their way to a militia outpost. A third captive, their driver, escaped weeks later.

The indictment names two other men who are not in custody. Authorities said Najibullah was transported to the US from Ukraine, although they did not say when he had been arrested, the AP reports. According to the indictment, Najibullah and the other suspects took the men hostage in Afghanistan and forced them to hike across the border. The indictment states that Najibullah demanded money from Rohde's family and forced him to appear in videos in whic he begged for his life. "My captors terrorized my family," Rohde told the Washington Post in 2010. "I told my captors about my reporting in Bosnia, which helped expose the mass executions of thousands of Muslims. I hoped they would see me as an independent journalist and release me. Instead, they thought, 'You must be worth a lot of money.'" (More David Rohde stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.