Al-Jazeera reporter expelled by Northern Alliance

New York, November 8, 2001—Soldiers of the opposition Northern Alliance expelled a reporter for the influential Arabic-language news channel Al-Jazeera from Afghanistan yesterday. An Al-Jazeera source told CPJ that the reporter, Ali Al-Arab, was escorted to the Tajik border on the afternoon of November 7 and advised to return “in a time of peace.” Al-Arab said on Al-Jazeera that he was not given any official expulsion order, but “was told from the moment I arrived that Arabs are not welcome in Northern Alliance areas,” according to a translation of the report broadcast by the BBC.

On September 9, two men posing as Arab journalists detonated a bomb that killed the Northern Alliance’s revered military commander, Ahmed Shah Massood. An Al-Jazeera source said the station has not had a reporter in opposition-held territory since Massood’s assassination.

Al-Arab had managed to obtain a visa from the Afghan embassy in Dushanbe, which is controlled by the opposition government led by Northern Alliance president Burhanuddin Rabbani. The station expects that the dispute will be resolved by senior Northern Alliance officials.

Al-Arab is currently in Dushanbe awaiting permission to re-enter Afghanistan.