In this video, Gwen Ifill talks to New York Times reporter David Rohde, who was kidnapped by the Taliban nearly a year ago while working on a book in Afghanistan.
After setting out to meet with a local Taliban commander, Rohde, his driver and an Aghan journalist were captured and held prisoner in Afghanistan and in the tribal regions near Pakistan.
Rohde eventually staged his own escape and told his story in a five-part series for the New York Times. He discusses, among other things, the relationship of the Taliban to the rural population of Afghanistan and United States operations in the region.
"It was an important lesson, that the hostility that the Taliban feel is most focused on the local Afghans and Pakistanis who work with the United States. They -- they stated that there's no way the United States could operate in the region without the support of moderate Pakistanis and moderate Afghans. And that's definitely true." - David Rohde
"I was surprised at the strength of the Taliban mini-state that exists in the tribal areas. You know, very senior Taliban commanders, as well as Arab and Uzbek militants, freely walk the treats streets of the towns where I was held.” - David Rohde
“The Taliban regime that the United States thought it had toppled in 2001, it still exists today. It simply moved a few miles east into Pakistan's tribal areas." - David Rohde
"I would just say that more people are, you know -- still, more captives and more kidnap victims are still being held in the tribal areas. We're not disclosing their names or cases because we don't want to encourage the kidnappers from demanding even higher ransoms. But this problem continues. It is a Taliban mini-state. We were so lucky to escape. And, unfortunately, others, you know, will not be so lucky." - David Rohde
1. What is journalism? What are the goals of journalists?
2. Why is journalism sometimes dangerous? What conditions make it dangerous?
3. Should the U.S. pay ransom for journalists who are kidnapped while reporting in other countries?
1. What did you learn from the interview with David Rohde? Did any of the information he gave suprise you?
2. What problems did David Rohde discuss that the U.S. faces in Afghanistan? Why is the war there so difficult to fight?
3. What does Rohde's story say about the role of journalists working in war-torn areas? Is it worth it for them to risk their lives to bring information back to the U.S.?
4. What would happen if no one risked their lives to report?
5. Extra Credit: Read Rohde's series for the New York Times here: http://projects.nytimes.com/held-by-the-taliban/#intro
Write a short essay about your impressions of Rohde's work. What was Rohde able to learn from his unique position as a captive that no one else would know?
Read the transcript:
New York Times David Rohde Series: