KABUL, Afghanistan – A German engineer held by Taliban insurgents since July pleaded in a new videotape Monday for the Afghan and German governments to make a deal with the militants for his release before winter.
A dimly lit video of Rudolf Blechschmidt shows the German in what appears to be a mud-brick Afghan home. He said he was in poor health but that an Afghan doctor had helped him.
Blechschmidt said he had been recently released into the custody of the International Committee of the Red Cross but was taken back into Taliban custody.
"And this time we (were) with the Red Cross on the way to Kabul, but the Taliban stop us and bring us back to the mountains," Blechschmidt says in English on the tape obtained by AP Television News. "Now we plea to German government and Afghan government, give us some help and make a deal with the Taliban to release us before the winter time starting."
Four Red Cross employees were taken hostage by the Taliban on Sept. 27 while trying to facilitate the German's release. The four were released in good health two days later.
Blechschmidt is one of two German engineers and five Afghans taken hostage on July 18 in Wardak province in central Afghanistan. The other German was found dead of gunshot wounds on July 21, while one of the Afghans apparently managed to escape.
Blechschmidt said the German embassy had refused to engage in negotiations for a time, but that negotiations had restarted recently and "we hope we will become free."
The Taliban have allowed him to call his son in Germany and to talk with newspapers there, he said.
"We hope the Afghan government or somebody else can help us to come out of this situation," he said.
Kidnappings by Taliban militants and criminal gangs have risen in Afghanistan in recent months. A series of high-profile kidnappings have led to ransom payments and prisoner releases, apparently fueling the spike in the abductions.