On one hand, the German government successfully negotiated the release of a German engineer held hostage in Afghanistan; on the other, the deal cost the Germans a hefty ransom, the release of five prisoners, and its hard line against granting terrorist demands, reports Der Spiegel. "I have purchased a herd of sheep," gloated the kidnapper.
Rudolf Blechschmidt was hired to repair a dam, but was sold out by local police. His captors were local criminals sympathetic to the Taliban. They were "completely fanaticized," reports Blechschmidt, describing their hashish-fueled descriptions of paradise. Had the deal not gone through, Blechschmidt would have been sold into certain death at the hands of the Taliban.