she called ''the doctor's mother'' and ''Zolaikha,'' but she wouldn't go into specifics about them. She said, however, that most of the women she encountered would tell her, ''We have no power or authority to talk to you.''
The men, like many Taliban, were hard-line Muslims who tried to avoid interacting with women outside their families. They would tell her their commanders were dealing with the details of her case.
Now and then, Kakar would be interrogated by the militants - usually three or four of them, and they didn't hide their faces. They'd ask her questions about her travels, her political activities and if she had met President Hamid Karzai. Nonetheless, they always treated her with ''full respect,'' she said, even cutting short the questioning if they saw she was getting tired.
Kakar leads a privileged life compared to most Afghans, and she was deeply troubled by the poverty and ignorance around her. There were no beds to sleep on, the food was often ''inedible,'' and there was no sense of any government presence. When she needed medicine, she'd give the militants some of her own money so they could buy it for her.
''The people in these villages don't even know what vaccines are,'' said Kakar, a former development worker whose constituency is in Kandahar city.
In early September, the captors told Kakar it would be just days before she'd be free. That same week, militants dragged Indian author Sushmita Banerjee out of the home she shared with her Afghan husband in eastern Afghanistan and fatally shot her. Banerjee's 1990s tale of life under the Taliban was the basis for the 2003 movie ''Escape from Taliban.''
Kakar was freed Sept. 7. Her bodyguard and driver were released separately. But there are conflicting accounts about whom the government freed in exchange.
Zholina Faizi, secretary of the Ghazni provincial council and one of the few in the government willing to discuss the matter, told the AP that seven male insurgents and one woman were released.
But the Taliban, in a statement announcing Kakar's release, said the prisoners were ''four innocent women and two