Held hostage by the Taliban

May 15, 2009

Dutch journalist Joanie de Rijke was held hostage by the Taliban for six days in November, 2008. She was in Afghanistan reporting on the ambush that killed ten French soldiers. She has written a book about her experience (in Dutch only) called Held by the Taliban. She talked with Radio Netherlands Worldwide about the experience and the time she says she felt sure she was going to be beheaded. You can listen to the discussion and read snippets about her ordeal on the RNW website,

"I couldn’t be sure whether the ransom would be paid, which meant I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. To break the constant tension, you have to talk to each other. The situation was very tense. The whole atmosphere was very tense. The commander, one moment he was friendly to me and the next moment he went mad because – I don’t know – of some news he got, and then he threatened to kill me. So, there was always tension. And to break that tension, you had to talk and laugh a bit. It was a matter of surviving." link

De Rijke was eventually released when her employer, De Vrije Pers in Antwerp, paid the US$137,000 (or €100,000) ransom.