David Rohde Returns to the New York Times Newsroom

The New York Times' David Rohde, who spent seven months as a hostage to a Taliban warlord in Afghanistan, has just returned to the paper's newsroom.

According to Times Twitterers Jennifer 8. Lee and Jodi Kantor, Rohde, his wife Kristin Mulvihill, and his Afghan fixer Tahir Ludin entered the newsroom minutes ago to what Kantor calls a "looooong loud ovation." The assembled Times staffers were in tears.

Rohde delivered a tribute to Ludin, Kantor writes, and told the crowd that Ludin told their Taliban captors, "If you're going to beat David, you'll beat me first."

Lee writes that Rohde advised his colleagues "to cherish our loved ones, enjoy sunset, and relish the fact we are alive."

Rohde was kidnapped near Kabul in November along with Ludin and their driver. Though news of the kidnapping was reported by local news agencies at the time, and freely available on the internet, the Times successfully leaned on more than 40 news outlets (including this one) not to report on his situation. According to an account Ludin gave to the Times, he and Rohde escaped their captors in the tribal areas of Pakistan by climbing over a wall and walking to a Pakistani army base.

Rohde has remained silent about his ordeal thus far, declining to comment even to his own paper. When we inquired about Rohde's situation several months ago, while the blackout was still in place, the Times insisted to us that Rohde's captors had told the paper that his life would be further endangered if news of the kidnapping spread. Since his release, Times executive editor Bill Keller has quoted Rohde saying that his captors were intensely interested in Rohde's ransom value, which would have gone up if public awareness of his case increased. The Times has declined to explain the apparent contradiction.

Asked if the paper plans to publish a first-person account by Rohde of the kidnapping and escape, a Times spokeswoman replied, "There is nothing I can say about this at this point."