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Days of Fear: A Firsthand Account of Captivity Under the New Taliban

192 pages3 hours


On March 5, 2007, the Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo, his driver, and his interpreter were abducted by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. “If we discover that you are spies we will kill you,” he was told. “If you are really journalists, we will exchange you for some of our comrades in prison.” When the Italian government and the Afghan authorities refused the Taliban requests, the driver, Sayed Agha, was decapitated before Mastrogiacomo’s eyes. A video of this horrifying event was later shown around the world. Mastrogiacomo spent the rest of his time in captivity convinced that a similar fate would soon befall him.

Mastrogiacomo’s jail, however, was an open-air prison. To escape detection his captors dragged him from village to village, through opium-poppy plantations, along dusty roads and over rugged mountains, from one Taliban stronghold to another—his imprisonment was a continuous and nerve- racking confrontation with a world that bore no resemblance to anything he had ever known. He draws from this experience both a hostage’s tale of captivity and a dramatic story about the eternal human drama: man’s encounter with ways of thinking and living that are in direct opposition to his own.

As brilliantly crafted and riveting as a first-rate suspense novel and with the emotional engagement of the best literary fiction, Days of Fear offers rare insight into the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan while telling an unforgettable tale of courage in the face of danger.

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