Frenchman 'threatened to headbutt' Taliban captor

4th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A French journalist held hostage for 18 months in Afghanistan came close to blows with one of his Kalashnikov-armed Taliban captors and fantasised about killing him, he told AFP Monday.

Herve Ghesquiere developed a murderous animosity with his most hated jailer: Dranak, a "toxic, paranoid" man, and saw himself like a "hero" in the prison thriller movie "Midnight Express".

"We almost came to blows three times," Ghesquiere said by telephone from Lille, where he was visiting his mother.

On one occasion, Dranak raised his rifle threatening to hit Ghesquiere when the plucky Frenchman stepped out into the courtyard, without permission, to urinate.

"Touch me and I'll nut you one," Ghesquiere told the Taliban, ordering his Afghan interpreter Reza Din, who was also held hostage, to translate.

He said Dranak is an elder brother of the regional Taliban leader Qari Baryal.

Another day the two clashed at mealtime.

"Dranak grabbed me by the neck and pushed me against the wall. We locked together, trembling with rage," Ghesquiere said.

He longed to lift his Taliban adversary and impale him on a coat-hook, "like the hero in 'Midnight Express'", a film about a young American jailed in Turkey, he said.

The stand-off ended without bloodshed, however, Ghesquiere said. "I went and got under my mosquito net and we spoke to each other again a few days later."

Reporter Ghesquiere was freed last week along with Din and French cameraman Stephane Taponier. France gave no details of how they were freed but the Taliban said an "enormous" ransom was paid for them.

© 2011 AFP

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