Journalist among three seized by unknown attackers

New York, September 15, 2005—Unknown assailants seized a journalist, a cameraman, and a government employee in Nuristan province, near the border with Pakistan on Wednesday, local media reported. The kidnappers have made no contact with authorities, and no motive for the attack is known. A spokesman for the governor of Nuristan was quoted as saying that the attackers wore military fatigues.

Mohammed Taqi Siraj, chief editor of the weekly Bamyan, was seized while returning from Nuristan Province, where he had been working for the Kabul Film Production Company. The company was making a video about culture in Kunar and Nuristan provinces for the Women’s Affairs Ministry. The assailants also abducted cameraman Baseer Seerat, and ministry employee Shah Jan.

The three were accompanying parliamentary candidate Hawa Alam Nuristani who was on a campaign tour for the September 18 election. Attackers shot and wounded Nuristani on Wednesday. She was taken to a Western forces’ hospital. The circumstances of the shooting and abductions were not immediately clear.

Taliban militants have stepped up attacks in the area ahead of the elections although officials have not linked them to the abduction or the shooting. Siraj had also been reporting for Bamyan during his assignment.