Kidnapped Journalist Rohde Returns Home to New York

New York Times reporter plans to stay at home with his wife, cook pasta.

May 26, 2009, 11:24 AM

June 24, 2009— -- David Rohde , the New York Times journalist who escaped from the Taliban after seven months of captivity, returned home to New York Wednesday, kissing his wife Kristen at the moment his plane touched down at John F. Kennedy airport.

Rohde, who had two bandages on the fingers of his left hand, said he could not talk about his ordeal. "I have to give it to the Times first," he said.

During the long flight from Dubai, where he had been resting since the escape, Rohde held hands and was affectionate with his wife. They were seated in business class along with his brother.

Rohde pointed to his wife and said, "I made it back because of her." They had been married for only two months when he was kidnapped.

He told an ABC News journalist who was on the same flight returning from coverage of Iran, "My only advice to you is to change professions."

Rohde, who once worked for ABC News, asked that word be sent to an another colleague who just had his first child. "Tell him, when you get older and you have kids, you've got to be careful about what you do out there."

Rohde Made Daring Escape from Taliban

Rohde was kidnapped by the Taliban last November as he traveled to interview a Taliban leader who apparently double-crossed him. He escaped from captivity over the weekend. The Taliban had initially demanded $25 million in ransom and the release of prisoners at Guantanamo.

People familiar with the investigation say the Times considered paying up to $2 million and reportedly moved a large amount of cash to Afghanistan in case a payment became necessary.

The Times also used a CIA-connected private security firm to help plot a possible rescue mission. The firm reportedly paid bribes to Taliban guards in a variety of locations. It was not known if the bribes played any role in Rohde's daring escape from the guarded compound in the Pakistani city of Miranshah.

The Times has declined to comment about "strategy, tactics" or questions of ransom.

As for his future plans, Rohde said, "All I want to do know is stay at home with my wife and cook some pasta."

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