The big business of kidnapping in Afghanistan
“$200,000. It’s what a Westerner goes for in Kandahar Province.
That, at least, was what my traveling companion, an opium smuggler and mid-ranking member of the Afghan Border Police, admitted to me after a few rounds of cheap whiskey once we had crossed back over into Pakistan. Last year, I spent eleven days living as his guest in the border town of Spin Boldak, in Kandahar Province. During that visit, a group of criminals, hearing about me, offered my host $200,000 to kidnap me. He’s just some kid, my host told them in return, and besides, he’s our guest.”