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David Rohde '90, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times, escaped a Taliban prison June 19 after more than seven months of captivity by jumping over the wall of the compound where he was being held.

Rohde was abducted, along with a local reporter and their driver, outside of Kabul in November while en route to a meeting with a Taliban commander for a book the Brown alum was writing on American involvement in Afghanistan, the Times reported the day after Rohde's escape.

Although news of the kidnapping spread, the Times asked that news outlets refrain from publicizing the incident, which could have endangered the lives of Rohde and his colleagues, according to the paper.

Rohde was reporting for his book at the time he was captured, but he had been writing for the Times on a freelance basis from Kabul, David McCraw, vice president and assistant general counsel for the Times, wrote in an e-mail to The Herald.

The Times worked with crisis firms, government officials and other organizations that have had abducted affiliates to secure Rohde's release, Catherine Mathis, senior vice president of corporate communications at the Times, added in an e-mail.

At some point during the seven months of captivity the men were moved from Kabul, where they were captured, to Pakistan. "We don't know how and when they were moved," Mathis wrote.

Attempts to contact Rohde for an interview were unsuccessful.

On the night of their escape, Rohde and the local reporter, Tahir Ludin, waited until the guards of the compound fell asleep and then jumped over the building's walls into the desert of the North Waziristan region of Pakistan, according to Mathis. They then found their way to a nearby Pakistani Frontier Corps base and were then flown to the American military base in Bagram, Afghanistan. The driver did not escape and "as far as we know, he is still being held," Mathis wrote.

Rohde enrolled at Brown for his junior year as a transfer from Bates College. After graduating in 1990, he worked a number of low-profile jobs until he was hired at the Christian Science Monitor in 1994. At the Monitor, he reported on the massacre of Bosnian Muslims.

In 1996, shortly after accepting a job at the Times, Rohde was awarded his first Pulitzer Prize for uncovering mass graves of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. In May 2009, he was recognized again when a Times reporting team won a Pulitzer for their coverage of Pakistan and Afghanistan last year.



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