Times Reporter Planned Escape for Weeks
Newspaper was prepared to pay $5M ransom to Taliban
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2009 5:50 AM CDT
This Nov. 10, 1995 file photo shows New York Times reporter David Rohde at Boston's Logan Airport.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)
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(Newser) – David Rohde escaped from the Taliban only after weeks of planning, taking advantage of a length of rope to aid his descent down a 20-foot wall, the New York Times reports. The journalist and his Afghan colleague waited until a night when the city had electrical power, so the sound of their falls would be muffled by whirring air conditioners.

The two journalists walked 15 minutes to a Pakistani militia point, where they were stripped at gunpoint before being transferred to Islamabad. The reporters say they planned their escape after growing despondent that their captors were not negotiating. But a source told CQPolitics that the Times' insurers, AIG, were ready to bribe the guards, and that their escape story "sounded fishy." The Times was reportedly ready to pay a $5 million ransom.