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September 10th, 2009
09:37 AM ET

The Reporter's Account: Four days with the Taliban

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/09/10/afghanistan.reporter/art.farrell.nyt.jpg caption="New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell was abducted Saturday while covering a NATO airstrike in Afghanistan."]
Stephen Farrell
The New York Times

Stephen Farrell, a reporter for The New York Times, and Sultan M. Munadi, an Afghan journalist working with him, were kidnapped by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan on Saturday. In a British raid to free them early Wednesday, Mr. Munadi was killed, as was a British soldier who has not been identified. This is Mr. Farrell’s account of the four-day ordeal.

Mid-to-late morning on Friday, Sept. 4, we in the Kabul bureau began hearing reports of an explosion in a Taliban-controlled area near the northern city of Kunduz.

It was clear that this was going to be a major controversy, involving allegations of civilian deaths against NATO claims that the dead were Taliban. Furthermore, it was in an area that was becoming increasingly newsworthy because it was becoming more troubled by insurgents.

My colleague Rich Oppel and I began discussing the story, and I forewarned the Afghan staff that they should at least begin thinking about logistics for a possible drive north, for a decision to be taken later.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Taliban
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