A FORMER undercover CIA agent who was held hostage and tortured by the Taliban for 190 days has been recognized for his bravery.
Anthony Stephen Malone, 50, won Inspiration of the Year at the English Veterans Awards on Thursday.
The former paratrooper and his colleague had to spend six months in a tiny, dark underground cell in Kabul after their capture in 2021.
Anthony faced “barbaric” living conditions in the 3×3 prison cell, with no toilets, other facilities or even sunlight.
And he was brutally beaten, suffering six broken ribs, a kidney infection, a severe concussion and nerve damage – as well as being threatened with execution on multiple occasions.
He was one of six Britons finally released by the Taliban on June 20, 2022.
More than a year after his horrific ordeal, Anthony was nominated for the Lifetime Achievement Award – where he won bronze – and won the Inspiration of the Year Award.
He said he was “honored and humbled” to win.
The brave Brit said he was still working to free vulnerable people from Afghanistanas head of an international committee to combat human trafficking.
Anthony has been traveling to and from Afghanistan for years, helping evacuate vulnerable families.
During the deployment with his colleague in 2021, they were in regular contact with senior Taliban officials and never had any problems – until they encountered a group of “rogue” officials.
Despite having the correct documents, they were held for 190 days – without any charges being filed.
The 50-year-old said they were forced to sleep on the hard concrete floor and were given a plate of beans and rice – but no water.
Anthony said that after two weeks in captivity he was brutally tortured to hand over his phone’s codes and passwords.
The paratrooper refused to do this because he had details and photos of families he wanted to save.
And he knew that after four weeks, thanks to a self-destruct program he installed, all the data on his phone would be erased.
He revealed that he was even made an offer to extradite the other Brits, but said the thought “didn’t cross my mind for a second”.
“He may have broken my body but not my spirit,” he told The Sun.
“On another occasion, I was taken upstairs, pinned to the ground by several Taliban members, handcuffed in the front and my legs tied together.”
“They took off my shoes and socks and whipped the soles of my feet with a hardened rubber hose more than 24 times.”
He was so badly injured that he was kept in solitary confinement for 72 days.
He remembered the first time he was allowed to have a five-minute phone call with his fiancée Nicki after weeks of captivity.
In one of these conversations he managed to tell her that he was being tortured – and she then managed to contact the Foreign Office.
The day before his release, Anthony was called into a room by Ahmed – he always seemed to have “a personal grudge” against him.
“He started a conversation about how evil our country is and insulted Britain,” Anthony explained.
“That’s when I did one of the stupidest things I could have done – I stood up to him, came face to face with him in a room full of armed guards and told him to be more respectful of our country.”
“He became so angry he couldn’t speak and knocked over the table, shattering the glasses.
“When he calmed down, he said, ‘Your friends are leaving tomorrow at 2 p.m. and you’re staying here’.”
“I stood up, thanked him for letting my friends go, and said to him, ‘I look forward to spending more quality time with you.’
“He didn’t do itSo. I went outside and could hear him screaming.
But when he returned to his cell, his colleagues informed him that they would be released.
The group was taken to Kabul airport on June 20 to fly home.
“I was always positive, even in the darkest days,” Anthony said.
“It’s a surreal experience, you have to stay grounded and keep going.”
“You could either curl up in a corner and cry if something happened to you, or you could roll up your sleeves and just carry on.”
In his book Honor Bound, Anthony, a women’s rights advocate, describes in excruciating detail the horrific moments he experienced while held hostage in Kabul.