Estonian filmmaker returned home after 2 months in captivity in Afghanistan

Vahur Laiapea visiting the Middle East in 2014.
Vahur Laiapea visiting the Middle East in 2014. Source: (Vahur Laiapea/Facebook)

Vahur Laiapea, an Estonian documentary filmmaker, spent almost two months in captivity in Afghanistan after falling into the hands of the Taliban in mid-April.

"On April 18, my friend, interpreter Mohsin and I were betrayed by our trusted person who was supposed to take us to Shindand to film an ex-Soviet soldier," Laiapea, 56, wrote on social media. "We were ambushed and taken captive by a group of Taliban members.

"After 30 hours, a miracle occurred — we were not killed and not kept as hostages, but taken to the big road where vehicles of the Afghanistan Security Forces (NDS) had been called to collect us," he continued. "...NDS arrested us and took us to a jail in Herat."

From Herat, government forces took them to a pretrial investigation prison in the capital of Kabul a few days later, where they were interrogated as alleged spies.

"After two months of captivity and investigation, the truth was revealed that we are innocent and I am not a spy of Iran or Pakistan or any other country," said Laiapea, who was released from the Kabul prison on June 13. "No charges were brought against us."

His interpreter had been released eight days earlier.

The Estonian filmmaker thanked the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his next of kin and employees at the British Embassy Kabul for helping achieve his release.

Spokespeople for the Estonian ministry confirmed to BNS that this case had taken place and representatives of Estonia had helped Laiapea get back home from Afghanistan.

Born in Tallinn in 1960, Laiapea is a film director, producer and cinematographer who is active as an independent producer since 1998. Laiapea served as manager for original productions at Kanal 2, an Estonian television channel, from 1999-2001.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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