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Journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka Uses Twitter to Escape Captivity in Afghanistan

Kosuke Tsuneoka
During the five months that he was held captive by Islamic militants in Afghanistan, Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka never thought he'd ever see his friends or family again. Now, however, he's finally back home -- thanks, in part, to Twitter.

As the AP reports, Tsuneoka recently seized a golden opportunity to communicate with the outside world, when one of his captors asked him how to use a new cell phone. The militants were reportedly interested in accessing news from Al-Jazeera, but the journalist convinced them to try Twitter, instead. While he was showing them how to use the micro-blogging site, Tsuneoka managed to send out a message via Twitter, confirming that he was alive. Two days later, the militant group decided to set him free, reportedly without even collecting a ransom from the Japanese government. It's still unclear why the extremists decided to release Tsuneoka, although the fact that the journalist converted to Islam in 2000 likely helped his cause.
Tsuneoka's twitter
At one point during Tsuneoka's captivity, his captors, allegedly corrupt Afghan soldiers or part of a group called Hizb-e-Islami (though the two may be one and the same), threatened to kill the journalist if the Japanese government didn't meet their demands within 72 hours. According to the AFP, Tsuneoka claims that the group wasn't affiliated with the Taliban, but simply posed as the notorious extremist faction in an attempt to blackmail the government. When the 72 hours had passed in relative peace, however, Tsuneoka began to feel more optimistic about his chances of survival, even though his ultimate emancipation was still months away. "I thought I would be certainly killed, so I tried to prepare myself to face it," he reminisces. "Although it was frustrating that I didn't know when that might be, my fear of death gradually faded and I felt better."

Tags: afghanistan, AfghanistanWar, Hizb-e-Islami, hostage, japan, journalist, Kosuke Tsuneoka, KosukeTsuneoka, SocialNetworking, top, twitter