Italy swaps Taliban for hostages —or did Karzai?

The Euro-bashers are already having a field day with Italy’s admitted capitulation to Taliban hostage-takers. But isn’t it interesting that most stateside media accounts—while baiting the Italians as spineless, effeminate Euro-boys—fail to even mention that the Taliban captives were held by Afghanistan, not Italy. Even the New York Times front-page headline was utterly misleading: “Italy Swapped 5 Jailed Taliban for a Hostage.” Worse, even the NYT story’s text failed to note that the captives were actually freed by Afghanistan—as the below account from the Pakistan Times makes clear:

The US and UK have criticised Italy for agreeing a hostage deal with the Taliban, saying the release of five fighters in exchange for an Italian journalist had put Nato troops in danger and encouraged further abductions.

Washington said the deal had caught it by surprise while London said it sent the “wrong signal to prospective hostage-takers”.

Italy confirmed on Wednesday that five leading Taliban fighters were released in exchange for reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo who was held hostage for two weeks.

A spokesman for Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president, said the government made the deal “in recognition of the friendship with Italy”.

So is this a case of simple racist reporting—denying the quaint little wog regime agency? Or an intentional strategy to protect Washington’s client Karzai? Either way, why let little things like facts get in the way of the good ol’ red-blooded American sport of Euro-bashing?

See our last posts on Afghanistan and Italy.