Press for release of Afghan journalist Ajmal Nakshbandi

March 23, 2007

Dear Colleagues,

We are asking you–journalists and news organizations–to help pressure the Afghan government to work for the release of Ajmal Nakshbandi, the freelance Afghan journalist who was seized with La Repubblica reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo and the group’s driver Sayed Agha. As you know, Agha was beheaded a few days after the men were taken on March 5.

According to most sources, Ajmal is still being held by the Taliban group that abducted them and is still somewhere in Helmand province.

Ajmal was a journalist in his own right, and he augmented his income by working as a translator for other journalists and aid groups. As journalists, we all know men and women like him, and we know how much we depend on them to help us cover difficult stories around the world. We must do what we can to press for his safe release.

Ajmal’s case has been overshadowed by the controversial conditions under which Daniele Mastrogiacomo was released. But we cannot let that get in the way of pressing the government of President Hamid Karzai to do what it can to secure Ajmal’s release. We are not asking the government to trade prisoners or money for Ajmal, only that it continue to press for his release and not let his abduction fade from public consciousness. Afghan journalists are already applying that pressure; adding international voices to that call will help our colleagues there.

Because the situation is so precarious, rather than take the time to gather signatures for a petition, we are asking journalists and media organizations to fax or call Afghan diplomatic missions in their country, telling them of our concern and asking them to pass that concern along to President Karzai’s office. And, of course, feel free to call the president’s office directly.

To help in this effort, we have attached a list of Afghan missions in many countries, along with contacts for President Karzai’s office.


Joel Simon
Executive Director

Office of the spokesman of President Hamid Karzai Tel: +93 799 33 77 55

Embassies of the Islamic State of Afghanistan (available at

United StatesAmbassador Said Tayeb Jawad
Tel: +1 202 483-6410
Fax: +1 202 483-6488

United KingdoAmbassador Ahmad Wali Masoud
Tel: +44-20 7589 8891
Fax: +44-20 7581 3452

United NationsPermanent Representative to the UN Zahir TaninTel: +1 212 972 1212
Fax: +1 212 972 1216

Ambassador Mahmoud Saikal
Tel: +61-2 6282 7311
Fax: +61-2 6282 7322

CanadaAmbassador Omar Samad
Tel: +61 3 563 4223
Fax: +61 3 563 4962

Czech RepublicAmbassador Azizullah Karzai
Tel: +42 02-233-544-228
Fax: +42 02-233-452-009

France, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and SwitzerlandAmbassador Zalmai Haquani
Tel: +33 1-45250529
Fax: +33 1-42244714

GermanyAmbassador Hamidullah Nasir Zia
Tel: +49 30 206 7350
Fax: +49 30 229 1510

IndiaAmbassador Masood Khalili
Tel.: +91-11 410 3331
Fax: +91-11 687 5439

ItalyAmbassador Abdullah Ali
Tel: +39 06-8621 6111
Fax: +39 06-8632 2939

JapanAmbassador Haron Amin
Tel: +81-3 5465 1219
Fax: +81-3 5465 1229

NorwayAmbassador Yahya Maroofi
Tel: +47 22 83 84 10
Fax: +47 22 83 84 11

PakistanAmbassador Nangyalai Tarzi
Tel.: +92 51 2824 505/6
Fax: +92 51 2824 504

PolandAmbassador Abdul Hai Haidar
Tel: +48 22-6460314
Fax: +48 22-848028