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Cover image for Days of fear : a firsthand account of captivity under the new Taliban
Days of fear : a firsthand account of captivity under the new Taliban
Uniform Title:
Giorni della paura. English
New York : Europa Editions, 2010.
Physical Description:
179 pages ; 21 cm
General Note:
Translation of: I giorni della paura.
Two years earlier -- 2007: return to Afghanistan -- The journey -- Desert flight -- Flogging in the name of Allah -- Meeting the big boss -- The mystery of the video -- Execution by the river -- We will see each other in paradise -- The mediator -- A light in the darkness -- Two years later.
On March 5, 2007, Italian reports Mastrogiacomo, his driver, and his interpreter were abducted by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. The driver was decapitated when a ransom request was refused. We learn of his experiences, in an encounter with ways of thinking and living that are in direct opposition of his own.
Conference Subject:
Geographic Term:



Call Number
958.1047 Mastrogiacomo 2010

On Order



On 5 March 2007, Daniele Mastrogiacomo, foreign news correspondent on assignment in Kandahar, his driver and his interpreter were captured by the Taliban. His captors threatened to execute him if Italy did not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. When Italy refused, his driver was decapitated before his eyes and his death broadcast around the world. To avoid detection, Mastrogiacomo's captors dragged him from village to village. It was a captivity which made Mastrogiacomo confront a world which was completely alien to him. This is his story.

Author Notes

Daniele Mastrogiacomo was born in Karachi in 1954. Since 1980, he has covered national and international affairs for the Italian daily La Repubblica . He has worked as a foreign correspondent in some of the world's most hostile places: Kabul, Teheran, Palestine, Baghdad, and Mogadishu. In 2006, he reported on the war in Lebanon between Israel and the Hezbollah.

Reviews 3

Kirkus Review

An Italian journalist skillfully recounts his 15 terror-filled days and nights in the hands of the Taliban. In the spring of 2007, La Repubblica correspondent Mastrogiacomo sought to interview a commander of the resurgent Taliban in Helmand province. Upon his arrival, the reporterdraped in a native shalwar to honor his subjectwas abducted along with his interpreter and his driver. At the hands of captors brandishing Kalashnikovs, they were transported across the desert in the trunk of a car and shifted from prison to prison to avoid detection. The captors' pious objective, a return to the ancient, halcyon world of the Prophet, was aided by modern firepower, satellite phones and video cameras. Their captives, blindfolded and bound, were bodies to be bartered. The prisoners were beaten, flogged and humiliated by young mujahideen who were laughing and singing and ready to die. Mastrogiacomo, accused of being spy, conversed and debated with his keepers. Without the benefit of contemporaneous notes, the author reconstructs, in present-tense journal form, the events of his captivity and the circumstances of his eventual release. He displays no signs of Stockholm syndrome. Mastrogiacomo, who witnessed the beheading of his driver, hates his duplicitous jihadi tormentors, and he presents a searing, frightening tale. Graphic and harrowing. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

One of several foreign journalists abducted (or murdered) by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the author, who works for Italy's La Repubblica newspaper, endured captivity for two weeks in March 2007. Believing he had arranged an interview with a top Taliban commander, Mastrogiacomo, his translator, and his driver were instead tricked: they were kidnapped and tortured, and the author's companions were killed. Mastrogiacomo, by writing about this terrible experience in the present tense, flows through the states of mind it provoked: indignation at the Taliban's deception, dread for whatever the militants intended, and, at times, a prayerful recourse to God. In addition to his own moods and fears, Mastrogiacomo memorializes those of Ajmal, the translator, and of Sayed, the driver. As the Taliban trucks the fettered group from lair to lair, Mastrogiacomo chronicles incidents--such as the sinister appearances of a jihadi cameraman--by which he perceives the approach or retreat of death. With its permeating apprehension, depictions of the Taliban's mentality, and an author book tour slated for April 2010, this is sure to attract a significant readership.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist

Library Journal Review

This is a riveting story of the capture and eventual release of the Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo (La Repubblica) by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The author, who has covered national and international events for many years, was captured, along with his translator (Ajmal Naqshbandi) and driver (Sayed Agha) in March 2007. His captors first thought that Mastrogiacomo was a British officer, but after learning that he was an Italian reporter, they demanded that Italy withdraw its forces from Afghanistan. When the Italian government refused to do so, his captors made a videotape of him and his two Afghan helpers and beheaded Sayed Agha, the driver, on the video. Mastrogiacomo's firsthand account of his captivity in Afghanistan, translated by Reynolds, reads like a suspense novel that highlights the unforgettable cruelty experienced by the captives of the Taliban. Although he was later freed in exchange for five Taliban prisoners, his translator and driver were executed by their captors. VERDICT Recommended for all interested readers in international affairs, this may appeal to some true-crime readers as well. [See also Jere Van Dyk's Captive: My Time As a Prisoner of the Taliban, coming from Times Bks: Holt in June 2010.-Ed.]-Nader Entessar, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 9
Two Years Earlierp. 15
2007: Return to Afghanistanp. 22
The Journeyp. 36
Desert Flightp. 53
Flogging in the Name of Allahp. 77
Meeting the Big Bossp. 90
The Mystery of the Videop. 109
Execution by the Riverp. 127
We Will See Each Other in Paradisep. 137
The Mediatorp. 160
A Light in the Darknessp. 165
Tow Year Laterp. 175
About the Authorp. 181