I was held hostage by the Taliban and brutally tortured for six months in tiny underground cell – it was hell on earth | The Sun

AN EX-PARATROOPER has shared his horrifying ordeal after he held hostage and brutally tortured by the Taliban.

Anthony Stephen Malone, who also worked as an undercover CIA agent, and his colleague were forced to spend six months in a tiny dark underground holding cell in Kabul after they were captured.

Despite having the right documentation the pair was held captive in horrid conditions- without actually being charged.

Anthony was one of the six Brits who were eventually released by the Taliban on June 20.

The former military man has been in and out of Afghanistan for years, helping vulnerable families evacuate.

He has been in regular contact with senior officials of the Taliban and the Haqqani network and never encountered any problems.


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The ex-para explained he and his colleague were approached by "rogue" elements from the Taliban as they were looking at a property – the former home of the British ambassador – which they hoped to rent.

He told the Sun Online: "We were approached by members of the Taliban, we were asked what we were doing and we showed them our identification.

"We were asked to follow them to the headquarters to answer a few more questions- to which we agreed.

"We were not handcuffed or anything, we voluntarily followed them to answer some questions.

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"We also voluntarily handed in our phones, we were never searched and then we were placed in a holding cell.

"We thought it'd take a couple of hours to confirm who we were but we'd actually spent 190 days there."

Describing the "barbaric" living conditions, Anthony described how they were kept in a 3×3 holding cell, with no toilets, any other facilities or even sunlight.

The 50-year-old says they were forced to sleep on the hard concrete floor and they were given some blankets.

As a meal, they were given a plate of beans and rice but were not offered any water.

"I am usually an upbeat guy, if you are going to work in these areas you have to be so it was my role to cheer others.

"I became the unofficial spokesman of our group, " he said.

Anthony details how everything took a turn for the worst when an interrogator named "Ahmed" appeared.

He says Ahmed became hostile as soon as he got involved and felt like he had a "personal grudge" against Anthony.

Anthony claims that after two weeks in captivity he was brutally tortured in order to give up the codes and passwords of his phone.

The paratrooper refused to do so as he had details and photos of families he was trying to rescue.

Anthony knew that after four weeks, all the data on his phone would be self-deleted thanks to a self-destruction programme he had installed.

He revealed he was even offered a deal to turn in the other Brits which he refused.

"It never even crossed my mind for a second," he said.

As a result, he was brutally beaten and left with six fractured ribs, a kidney infection serious concussion, and nerve damage.

"He may have broken my body but not my spirit," he says adding that he was threatened with execution multiple times.

He continues: "On a separate occasion I was taken upstairs, pinned to the floor by several members of the Taliban, I was handcuffed at the front and my legs were tied together.

"They removed my shoes and socks and they whipped the bottom of my feet over 24 times with a hardened rubber hose."

He was so badly injured that he was placed in solitary confinement for 72 days.

He recalls the first time he was allowed a five-minute phone call with his fiance, Nicki, after weeks in captivity.

He said: "I was escorted to a room, blind as a bat, seeing a camera on a tripod.

"I actually thought that was the end, I thought they were going to behead me and film it.

"I was handed over a phone to speak to my fiancee.

In one of these conversations, he managed to get a message out to his fiancee that he is being treated badly while imprisoned.

She was in direct contact with the interrogator and the Taliban as well as FCDO.

The day before his release, Anthony was called into a room by Ahmed.

"He didn't bother to start a conversation telling me I'm being released.

"He started a conversation about how evil our country is and he was insulting Britain.

"That's when I've done one of the most stupid things I could have done- I stood up to him and went nose to nose with him- in a room full of armed guards and told him to be more respectful towards our country.

"He got so angry he couldn't speak, he flipped the table over smashing glasses.

"When he calmed down, he said 'your friends are going to leave tomorrow at 2 o'clock and you will stay here.'

"I stood up, thanked him for letting my friends go and told him 'I look forward to spending more quality time with you.'

"He didn't take that well. I walked out and I could hear him screaming."

It was actually when he returned back to his cell that his colleagues informed him they were being released.

Anthony was the only one that had all his belongings returned – his passport, his wallet, driving license and his watch after the Taliban said it was "a sign of respect from one soldier to another."

The group was then taken to Kabul airport to fly back home on June 20.

Anthony said: "I have always been positive, even in the darkest days.

"The right people got to talk to each other and that obviously opened up a dialogue that helped us.

"I would personally like to thank the Foreign Office, for their outstanding effort to get us released.

"Especially Lizz Truss and Lord Ahmad got weekly updates on our situation and really helped as well.

"It's a surreal experience, you have to keep yourself grounded and crack on.

"You can either curl up in a corner and cry when something happens to you or you could roll up your sleeves and just get on with it.

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There is now an active investigation by the Metropolitan Police's Special War Crimes Unit into the conditions and injuries Anthony suffered.

In his new book Honour Bound, Anthony, an advocate of women's rights, describes in excruciating detail the horrifying moments he suffered while held hostage in Kabul.

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Anthony has been awarded Silver and Bronze ERS, was a finalist English Veterans Awards and is an Ambassador End Suicide App.

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