U.S. Embassy issues warning to American journalists

New York, November 10, 2003—The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is monitoring reports that U.S. journalists and foreigners working for U.S. media in Afghanistan may be targeted for kidnapping in exchange for Taliban members in U.S. custody.

At a State Department daily briefing on Friday, November 7, spokesman Richard Boucher said that the U.S. Embassy in Kabul had issued a notice urging American journalists in the country to increase their safety precautions. “The United States Embassy in Kabul has received credible information that Taliban forces are actively searching for American journalists to take hostage for use as leverage for the release of Taliban currently under United States control,” the message said.

On November 8, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that four suspected Taliban members assaulted a driver for a U.S. media outlet near the southeastern town of Khost on October 31. According to the AFP report, the men, who stole the car, were seeking to abduct U.S. journalists.