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When Japanese reporter Kosuke Tsuneoka was kidnapped by the brutal Afghan insurgent group Hizb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, he lost communication with the world. After five months of captivity in Afghanistan, during which death must have looked increasingly likely, he caught a lucky break. His captors had a new cell phone and wanted Tsuneoka to show them how to access the Internet, which they had never before seen. While pretending to help the armed militants set up their phone--Tsuneoka even called the carrier's customer service line to get satellite data service activated--the reporter bravely snuck out two clandestine tweets telling the world he was still alive:

i am still allive, but in jail.less than a minute ago via mobile web

here is archi in kunduz. in the jail of commander lativ.less than a minute ago via mobile web

The next day, he was released. PCWorld's Martyn Williams explains the second tweet, "The message referred to the Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz where he was being held."

Williams, who often writes on Japanese topics, says that the messages were initially "greeted with skepticism by some who questioned aspects of them. Why were they sent in English when Tsuneoka had been using only Japanese on his Twitter account? Why were they sent through Twitter's mobile Web interface when previous messages had been sent using the Gravity Twitter cell phone client? And how was he managing to post messages if he was in prison?"

The Associated Press's Mari Yamaguchi reports that Tsuneoka remains angry and disillusioned about the months preceding his brave and dramatic exit:

Tsuneoka said after that, anger rather than fear helped him survive the ordeal. Even though his captors fed him well and never used violence, he repeatedly thought about how he could retaliate against them.

"They are a bunch of thieves just trying to extort money from Japan," he said.

The rest was boredom. He had nothing to do but sleep, gaze out the window to see birds or count ants crawling on the dirt floor, when the young militants were not around to talk.

Regardless, the journalist says he want to go back to Afghanistan "right now."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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