Kidnapped by the Taliban

Kidnapped by the Taliban

Our destination is on a high plain some 120 kilometers south of Kabul: a barren area that the native population calls simply "Dasht": desert. About ten minutes earlier we turned off the main road and now we are advancing with difficulty over sand and gravel. It is a bright, beautiful day. The sunlight is like mica glistening out of a steely blue sky. The car must be somewhere out in front of us: a white Toyota Corolla that is supposed to take us to our scheduled meeting. Our investigations are almost completed. We have been waiting for days for this moment to arrive.

We shut off the motor. We wait. Four or five minutes pass. We stay perfectly still. The wind is whistling softly around our car, increasing our unease.

Finally, we hear the sound of motors. It is not a car, however, but rather the rattling of motorcycles. Suddenly, before we can look around, they are standing before us: five Taliban with wide-eyed expressions. They seem to have come out of nowhere. They hold their Kalashnikovs against the windows, drag us out of the car and confiscate our cellphones. They tie our hands together on our backs with rags and they push us back into the car. As if paralyzed by the shock, we cannot make a sound. Only Nathan, the photographer, manages to say: "Now we're finished."

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.