The kidnappers of Italian photojournalist Kash Gabriele Torsello have issued a second demand for his release: Italy should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. But the Italian defense minister has rejected their demand.
They earlier pressed for the return to their country of Afghani Christian convert Abdul Rahman, who has been granted asylum in Italy. Torselloâ€™s abductors said they are Muslims fighting against foreign occupation of their country.
According to the local Afghan press, five armed men kidnapped Torsello last October 12 while traveling by bus from Lashkargah to Kandahar. “The kidnappers frequently tell me that I am a spy and that British troops bombed Musa Qala and Nawzad districts on my intelligence,” Torsello was quoted as saying by Afghan newsmen who claimed to have talked to him in captivity. They said Torsello did not know where he was kept because he was blindfolded. The Italian captive said he was under constant threat and extreme pressure from his abductors, according to the reporters.
Torsello is a London-based photojournalist on contract with Zuma Press to cover war-torn Afghanistan.
[Photo courtesy of Dan Sumption & Zuma Press]