You know you’re bad off when the Taliban complains that you’re giving them a bad image. In any case, they probably find this embarrassing because Torsello is a Muslim. Gabriele Torsello Update: “Afghanistan: Taliban Ask Kidnappers to Release Italian Photojournalist,” from AKI:
Lashkar Gah, 24 Oct. (AKI) – The Taliban have called on the kidnappers of the Italian photojournalist Gabriele Torsello to release him saying that it was not fair to avenge Italy by killing the innocent reporter, according to a report on the website of the Pajhwok Afghan News. Speaking from an undisclosed location via telephone on Tuesday, an alleged spokesperson for the Taliban, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, told Pajhwok News that they had tried several times to contact the kidnappers but had not succeeded.
“Kidnappers of the Italian journalist are robbers and they have abducted the journalist for handful money,” Ahmadi was quoted as saying in the Pahjwok News story. “We will drag the abductors to court if we find them.”
Ahmadi told Pahjwok news that the Taliban had earlier guarded the Italian journalist during his two-day stay in Musa Qala and three-day stay in Sangin districts. The Taliabn spokesperson said Torsello’s kidnappers wanted to “defame” the Taliban with such an act.
Torsello, a Christian who converted to Islam, was kidnapped between October 12 and 14 while he was travelling from Lashkar Gah, the capital of the volatile Helmand province to neighbouring Kandahar – the two parts of the country where fighting between insurgents and NATO forces is fiercest.
Italy’s defence minister Arturo Parisi has categorically rejected the demands by the kidnappers of the Italian photojournalist to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in order to secure his release.
After initially offering to hand over Torsello in exchange for the return of a Christian convert, Abdul Rahman, who has been granted asylum in Italy, last week the captors – who claim to be Taliban militia but whose identity has not been determined – said if that were not agreed to they would insist on a complete pullout of Italy’s 1,800 troops in Afghanistan.
The kidnappers had warned they would kill the journalist by Monday midnight if the Afghan Christian convert Abdul Rahman was not handed over to an Islamic court for trial and Italian soldiers left Afghanistan.