July 31, 2007

German Hostage Seen in Taliban Video

German engineer Rudolf B., kidnapped two weeks ago in Wardak province, appeared in a video released today by his Taliban captors. Via Reuters:

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Jazeera television broadcast a video on Tuesday showing a German man held by Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents and said he appealed to Berlin and Washington to withdraw their troops from the Central Asian country.

The man appeared in the video against a rocky backdrop in a hilly area. Al Jazeera did not play the sound of the video.

"The German hostage Rudolf B. ... urged Germany and the United States to pull out their forces from Afghanistan and urged his country to help save his life and secure his return to his homeland and family," an Al Jazeera presenter said.

One of the militants pointed a rocket-propelled grenade launcher at the man, who appeared to be unharmed.

Al Jazeera said it obtained a similar video showing the German engineer's four Afghan companions. It did not say how it obtained the videos.

Rudolf B.'s fellow engineer, Ruediger Diedrich, was murdered by the Taliban, who shot him in the knees and back after he collapsed on a forced march in the mountainous region.

A separate video showing Rudolf B.'s four Afghan colleagues was also aired. Al-Jazeera claims it doesn't know how it obtained the videos.

The Taliban is demanding the release of 10 rebel prisoners in exchange for Rudolf B. and the Afghans. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly said he will not release any more prisoners after being sharply criticized for deal freeing 5 Taliban in exchange for Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo in March.

Let's keep up the prayers for Rudolf B. and his co-workers, as well the Korean hostages being held by the Taliban in a separate incident.

Thank you to George for keeping me up to date on this.

By at 05:43 PM | Comments |