A British journalist who was captured for 10 days by the Taliban last September claims her own government tried to convince Taliban officials that she was a spy. Yvonne Ridley, who works for the Sunday Express and has written a book about her ordeal, says that her death would have been a public relations success for the British government in the face of anti-war critics...
Ridley says that the "demonization" of the Taliban in the American and British press after September 11 made it seem to most people that she would not be leaving Afghanistan alive.
However, according to Ridley, she was treated relatively well, with "respect" and "courtesy." She says, "The Taliban never harmed me physically. They tried instead to use mind games to get the information they wanted."
On the fourth day the guards left Ridley to herself. "This was the most terrifying time," she says. "I thought they had made up their minds that I was a spy."
On that day, the Taliban had received a file. The same file had been sent to several journalists, including the London offices of the independent Arabic TV news channel Al Jazeera.
The file contained documents related to Ridley's taxes and income as well as documents that stated she was an MI6 agent and her ex-husband was an agent for Mossad, the Israeli security service.
According to Ridley, some of the documents were authentic while others were fabricated. On her release, she was able to fully examine the copy of the file that was sent to Al Jazeera and realized that it also contained family photos that she had in her home in London.
"It had to have come from British intelligence," she told the Middle East Times.