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He lived to tell.

Jere Van Dyk will discuss his experiences as a Jihadi hostage and his new book on the ordeal, “The Trade: My Journey into the Labyrinth of Political Kidnapping,” at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills on Monday, April 23, at 1:30 p.m.

An American journalist covering the war in Afghanistan in 2008, Van Dyk was abducted by Taliban fighters and held for ransom in Pakistan for 45 days.

He feared for his life the whole time, but the drama didn’t end upon his release. In his PTSD, he was haunted by certain questions that his employers and the U.S. government wouldn’t answer. Why did the Jihadis grab him? Why did they release him? (He didn’t know what his kidnappers had received in exchange for his freedom.) Why was everything a secret?

To get the answers, he returned to the tribal areas Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the war was still raging, in 2014. He interviewed Islamist commandos — including his kidnappers — and some family members of current hostages. At other times, he chatted with FBI agents and other U.S. government employees, including some in the Obama White House.

To no surprise, he discovered that abduction is a lucrative business, which he calls “The Trade” in his book. Certainly not regulated, the industry follows its own shady rules revolving around negotiations between the perpetrators, the victims, intermediaries, organized criminal groups, corporations, and even governments.

It’s even less of surprise that he couldn’t find any concrete answers to his questions. Body-snatching exists in a murky world.

There is no charge to attend this presentation on April 23, but an $8 donation is suggested. The Central Queens Y is located at 67-09 108th St.

Van Dyk, a Pacific Northwest native, actually has a long-running interest in the region where the crime occurred. He lived in Afghanistan and worked as a correspondent for The New York Times in the 1980s, when the Mujahidden were repelling the invading Soviet army. Currently, he is an analyst/consultant on the region for CBS News.

The University of Oregon graduate has also written “Captive: My Time as a Prisoner of the Taliban,” a 2010 follow-up memoir about his kidnapping.

Images: Jere Van Dyk


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