Twelve years after a New York Times journalist and two others were taken hostage at gunpoint in Afghanistan and held for more than seven months, an Afghan man has been arrested and charged in the kidnapping, federal authorities said on Wednesday.
The accused kidnapper, Haji Najibullah, who has been described as a former Taliban commander, was expected to appear in Federal District Court in Manhattan later on Wednesday.
The journalist, David Rohde, as well as an Afghan journalist, Tahir Ludin, eventually made a desperate nighttime escape in June 2009 from the second floor of a Taliban compound in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s tribal areas, that included dropping down a high wall with a rope and making their way to a Pakistani militia post. The third hostage, Asadullah Mangal, their driver, did not escape with them.
A federal indictment unsealed on Wednesday charges Mr. Najibullah, 42, with six counts, including kidnapping, hostage taking, conspiracy and using a machine gun in furtherance of violent crimes. Each count carries a potential life sentence.
The circumstances of Mr. Najibullah’s capture and arrest were not described in a news release issued along with the indictment, but the release said he had been transferred to the United States from Ukraine.