ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A Pakistani (search) man who returned home after eight days as a hostage in Iraq said Saturday that his captors beheaded three fellow prisoners — two of them English-speakers — before his eyes.
Amjad Hafeez (search), 26, who worked as a driver in Iraq for an American company, was released on July 2 and returned home on Friday.
Hafeez told The Associated Press that the insurgents had locked him in a small room soon after kidnapping him. Three days later, he was taken to a room where he say two foreigners and an Iraqi beheaded "by a fat Iraqi man with sword."
He said the two foreigners were "English-speaking people" who were crying, weeping and begging for their lives.
He would not say anything more about their identity or nationality.
"I only saw that they were speaking English, and their skin was white," he said.
It was not immediatley clear who the foreigners might have been. Hafeez said they occurred on June 27 at around 10 p.m.
Insurgents have beheaded at least two other foreign hostages in Iraq, a South Korean and an American, but they were killed before that date.
"I was also told to get ready for it," he said. "I was so terrified that I started weeping."
"I knew that my time had come, but the next day their (the kidnappers') behavior changed, and they suddenly became nice."
Hafeez said initially his captors thought he was an American CIA agent, but when they knew that he was a Pakistani driver and a Muslim, they freed him.
Hafeez said the insurgents also told him that they released him because his mother had made tearful pleas through the media to save his life.
He was captured by the insurgents near a U.S. base at Balad, 50 miles north of the capital, Baghdad. He was employed by U.S. company KBR, formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root (search), a Halliburton (search) subsidiary that provides catering services and living quarters for the U.S. military and American companies working in Iraq.
After his capture, insurgents released a video threatening to decapitate him unless all Iraqi prisoners were freed. In the video, Hafeez was shown urging Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to close the Pakistani Embassy in Iraq and ban all Pakistanis from going to the country.
Musharraf, who has made Pakistan a key ally of the United States in its war on terror, refused to accept the demand, but urged the kidnappers not to harm Hafeez.
Hafeez said after his release he received a call from President Bush, who congratulated him.
"I had not even dreamed that the American president would call," he said. "He wished me well, and I said thank you," Hafeez said.
Hafeez arrived home amid emotional scenes on Friday, greeted by his mother and other family members at Islamabad airport.