From the (conservative) Sunday Telegraph in Australia (owned by arch warmonger Rupert Murdoch):
I was jailed for helping Afghan women
* By JAMES HOOPER
* December 20, 2009 12:00AM
Instead, he witnessed inhumane conditions, torture, and had his life threatened inside the squalid prison.
On August 22, 12 members of Afghanistan‘s CID police stormed a suburban house with guns drawn, arresting Punton and three women.
“I can honestly say I thought I was going to die when the police stormed the house. There was a huge explosion, and initially I thought it was a bomb,” Punton said. “At first, I thought they were screaming ‘Taliban!’, so I ran to get my bulletproof vest.
“Then I recognised they were plain-clothes officers from the Afghan CID – the local version of the CIA.
“An army officer came in pointing an AK-47 at me, and I thought that was it: I was going to be put to death.”In jail, Punton survived on one cup of rice a day and shed 17kg.
Accused of rape, having a relationship with a Muslim woman and spying, he was eventually released without charge after paying CID police $40,000. After Punton’s release, the Australian Embassy helped hide him under an assumed name before he flew out of Afghanistan to Dubai, then back to Australia in October.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is aware of the case and our consular officials in Kabul provided the detained Australian man with consular assistance,” a spokeswoman said.
Until his release, Punton’s parents had left a non-government organisation official in Afghanistan in charge of release negotiations in agreement with Australian consular officials.
Punton became an extortion target when he decided to tell the story of women’s rights in Afghanistan.
To do so, he hired Azedeh Naem as his camera operator and interpreter.
She was arrested, along with her mother and sister as a result. The three women are now in hiding and are seeking asylum in Australia.
Afghan Children Are Neglected Casualties Of War: here.
Afghan Killing Bares a Karzai Family Feud: here.
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai announced his second-term cabinet last Saturday, retaining roughly half of his incumbent ministers, including US favorites, while appointing figures tied to Afghan warlords: here.
Britain: Military families and former soldiers will travel from across the country on Monday to demand that Gordon Brown brings the troops home from Afghanistan: here.
Ex-US diplomat predicts Afghan troop surge failure: here.