Journalists Warned of Kidnap Threat

New York, March 6, 2002—The British-led international peacekeeping force warned reporters today of a credible threat to kidnap foreign journalists.

“Information about threats come and go all the time, but this is the first one assessed as credible enough to pass on to journalists,” said Lt. Col. Neal Peckham of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), according to CNN. Peckham said that the kidnap plans concerned journalists in Kabul. However, an ISAF press officer said the threat was not specific to any region of Afghanistan, according to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

The ISAF advised journalists to “maintain extra vigilance and consider their movements.”

ISAF officials said that the threat appears to be related to the U.S.-led offensive against Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters in eastern Paktia Province.

On March 4, Toronto Star reporter Kathleen Kenna was seriously injured when an assailant threw an explosive device into her car, on the road between Kabul and Gardez, in Paktia Province. The incident occurred shortly after two gunmen nearby were overheard discussing whether to take a group of foreign journalists hostage, according to The Washington Post. It was not clear whether the two incidents were related, or whether there is any connection between this earlier reported threat and the one made public today by the ISAF.