Germany Paid Dearly for Hostage Release

Afghan captors secure cash, cronies' freedom in risky precedent
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2007 7:43 PM CDT
This undated image from video made available by Tolo TV, a private Afghan television station, shows a male captive who identified a German engineer Rudolf Blechschmidt kidnapped by Taliban insurgents...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.