Afghan man arrested in kidnapping of New York Times journalist, others

Afghan man arrested in kidnapping of New York Times journalist, others
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An Afghan man has been arrested and charged in the 2008 kidnapping of a New York Times journalist and two foreign nationals, federal prosecutors announced on Wednesday

Haji Najibullah, 44, was arrested and transferred to the U.S. from Ukraine, and will be arraigned before a federal judge in New York. 

He is charged with kidnapping former New York Times journalist David Rohde, Afghan journalist Tahir Ludin, and their driver Asadullah Mangal according to the newspaper. 


According to the indictment which was unsealed on Wednesday, Najibullah and his co-conspirators Akhund Zada and Timor Shah kidnapped their victims at gunpoint in Afghanistan in November 2008. Five days after they were kidnapped, Najibullah forced the hostages to hike to Pakistan from Afghanistan, where the hostages were held for seven months. 

While in captivity, the suspects forced the hostages to make videos and calls seeking help, and made them create at least three videos showing them begging for help surrounded by masked guards armed with machine guns.   

According to The New York Times, Rohde and Ludin escaped in June 2009 by dropping down a wall with a rope and escaping to a Pakistan militia post. Mangal did not escape with them.  

Najibuliah was charged with one count of hostage taking, conspiracy to commit hostage taking and kidnapping, kidnapping and two counts of using and possessing a machine gun. Each of the charges come with a maximum life sentence.

“Journalists risk their lives bringing us news from conflict zones, and no matter how much time may pass, our resolve to find and hold accountable those who target and harm them and other Americans will never wane,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement.

Updated at 5:07 p.m.