Tahir Ludin in Kabul, Nov. 2002.
After more than seven months as captives of the Taliban, New York Times reporter David Rohde and Afghan interpreter/journalist Tahir Ludin decided to try to escape with the knowledge that "we die or we don't," Tahir told Morning Edition's Renee Montagne earlier today.
As I reported earlier, Tahir is a friend of mine. He was my interpreter when I traveled to Afghanistan for USA TODAY in 2002 and 2003.
It's hard, as you'll hear, to understand some of what Tahir tells Renee. The combination of a weak phone signal and his accent make it difficult. Along with telling Renee of the do-or-die decision he and Rohde made, Tahir also says:
— At first, his captors threatened to "chop off my head."
— They were made to wash dishes and do other chores.
— "It was like a miracle how we escaped .... 90% I thought I would die."
— "My life is in danger. My family is in danger. And I want to run because I want to get out of Kabul as soon as possible."
Here's some audio from Renee's conversation with Tahir:
Update at 1:35 p.m. ET: New York magazine says it has been told by a source with direct knowledge that negotiators working on the captives' behalf may have set up a network that would pay some of the guards to look the other way if a rescue or escape attempt was made. But neither Tahir nor Rohde knew anything about that, if indeed such a network was set up, the magazine says.