The Reporter Who Escaped The Taliban

Christie Chisholm
2 min read
The Reporter Who Escaped the Taliban
“David Rohde of The Times was welcomed by colleagues on Wednesday after his escape from Afghanistan. He was joined by his wife, Kristen Mulvihill, right, and his translator Tahir Ludin.” (James Estrin/The New York Times)
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Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter David Rohde somehow survived more than six months of captivity under the Taliban. He escaped, along with Afghan reporter Tahir Ludin, two weeks ago. Yesterday was his first day back in the newsroom.

From the

“In an intensely emotional moment, the two men walked into The Times’s newsroom to enormous waves of applause from scores of reporters and editors. At Mr. Rohde’s side was Kristen Mulvihill, his wife of only two months when he, Mr. Ludin and their driver, Asadullah Mangal, were abducted on Nov. 10 outside Kabul.

“As the long ovation continued, Mr. Ludin wiped away tears. Some in the third-floor newsroom, in The Times’s building on Eighth Avenue in Midtown, seemed near tears themselves. Many, maybe most, had not been aware of their colleagues’ ordeal during the months that it lasted. The newspaper did not report on the kidnapping and persuaded other news organizations to follow its lead in the belief that publicity would have made Mr. Rohde more valuable to his captors as a bargaining chip, and perhaps reduced his chances of surviving.”

“Mr. Rohde, 41, is low-key by nature, and he was in character as he spoke briefly to the newsroom gathering.

“He did not discuss details of his abduction or of his escape on June 19. But he allowed that Mr. Ludin had told the hostage takers that if they wanted to chop off Mr. Rohde’s head, they would have to chop off his own first. It was a chilling reminder of the dangers of reporting in Central Asia, where Daniel Pearl of The Wall Street Journal was murdered and beheaded in 2002.

“Mr. Rohde spoke of Mr. Ludin’s bravery and said he represented true Islam and not the “twisted” form of their captors, whose hard-line interpretation of religion, he said, made them less humane.”

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