October 08, 2007

Desperate German Hostage: Rescue Me Before Winter

German engineer Rudolf Blechschmidt, who was kidnapped by the Taliban July 21 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, appears in another video released today by his captors. He begs the German and Afghan governments to come to an agreement with the Taliban before the harsh Afghan winter sets in. Via AP:

A dimly lit video of Rudolf Blechschmidt shows the German in what appears to be a mud-brick Afghan home. He said he was in poor health but that an Afghan doctor had helped him.

Blechschmidt said he had been recently released into the custody of the International Committee of the Red Cross but was taken back into Taliban custody.

"And this time we (were) with the Red Cross on the way to Kabul, but the Taliban stop us and bring us back to the mountains," Blechschmidt says on the tape obtained by AP Television News. "Now we plea to German government and Afghan government, give us some help and make a deal with the Taliban to release us before the winter time starting."

Four Red Cross employees were taken hostage by the Taliban on Sept. 27 while trying to facilitate the German's release. The four were released in good health two days later.

Blechschmidt is one of two German engineers and five Afghans taken hostage on July 18 in Wardak province in central Afghanistan. The other German was found dead of gunshot wounds on July 21, while one of the Afghans apparently managed to escape.

A report from the AFP has more details, citing the Afghan news agency Pahjwok:
When the Pahjwok team was able to visit, the six men were being held in a dark room and being watched by hooded gunmen. Even though winter was setting in, they had only one blanket between them, the agency said on its website.

One of men guarding them said: "Either the German government will have to pull out its troops from Afghanistan or the Afghan government will have to release our prisoners."

One of the captives, identified as the owner of a construction company, who is called Haji Javed, said the government should accept the demands to save their lives. "They should rescue us as soon as possible," he pleaded.

Prayers for the safety and health of the kidnapped men, and for the German and Afghan governments to have wisdom in deciding on a course of action.

By at 06:20 PM | Comments |