November 01, 2004

UN Hostages in Afghanistan Plea for Life in New Video

On October 28th we reported that three UN workers had been taken hostage in Afghanistan. Yesterday, a video was released of the three hostages pleading for their lives. The hostages were in Iraq to help with last months elections and all were employed by the UN. They are Annetta Flanigan of Northern Ireland, Filipino diplomat Angelito Nayan and Shqipe Habibi of Kosovo. As more evidence that involving the UN does not translate into support for US policies, the terrorists "threatened to kill them unless U.N. and British troops leave Afghanistan and Muslim prisoners are freed from U.S. jails (source: China Daily)".

The BBC reports that the deadline set by the terrorists has been extended. In what seems to be a precaution against raids aimed at freeing the hostages, their are also reports that the three have been split up.

UPDATE: Make that threatening to behead the hostages.

More on the video from China News:

In the video, obtained by Associated Press Television News in Pakistan, the questioner repeatedly asks the captives why they have come to Afghanistan, then asks why America and NATO have sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq.

"We have nothing to do with America," Nayan says calmly. "We are here for the Afghan people." He adds later: "We all want to go home to our families. We are United Nations workers. We want to go home to our kids and to our parents."

Habibi explains that she is from Kosovo — the mainly Muslim autonomous region of Serbia — but her abductor seems unsure where that is.

"It is a Muslim country," she says. "I thought I could help a Muslim country, and I just want to go home and see my brother."

All three hostages appear frightened. Their interviewer at several points seems to try to reassure them, saying to Flanigan: "Don't cry. Why you cry?"

But he repeatedly — sometimes sharply — asks them what they are doing in Afghanistan, and does not seem to understand their answers.

Toward the end of the 15 minute video, obtained by APTN in neighboring Pakistan, the interviewer appears to ask Flanigan to cry for the camera, to which she replies: "I have cried and cried and I can't cry anymore."

Finally after 15 minutes, Nayan asks: "Are we going to be released?" and the tape ends.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:08 AM | Comments |