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New charges against Afghan accused in journalist abduction case

An Afghan man already facing charges in the 2008 gunpoint kidnapping of a New York Times reporter and another journalist has been charged with the murder of three US soldiers.

A revised indictment against Haji Najibullah brought him the Matthew L. Hilton, Joseph A. McKay and Mark Palmatier are accused of commanding Taliban fighters behind the deadly attack.

The document also alleges that Najibullah helped shoot down a US military helicopter in a separate attack at the end of the year.
A lawyer for Najibullah, who is in US custody, declined to comment on the new charges on Thursday.

Najibullah, 45, was brought to the United States last year to face basic charges including hostage-taking, conspiracy and kidnapping. Prosecutors alleged that they plotted to kidnap David Rohde, who then worked for the Times, and Afghan journalist Tahir Ludin while they were on their way to interview a Taliban leader.

 

The two victims made a dramatic escape from a Taliban-controlled compound in the tribal areas of Pakistan on November 10, 2008, more than seven months after the abduction. Their driver, Asadullah Mangal, was the third victim of the kidnapping and fled a few weeks after Ludin and Rohde.

A charge for Najibullah is set for October 15 in federal court in Manhattan. If convicted, he faces life in prison. (AP)

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