British journalist abducted in Afghanistan

March 28, 2008

Sean Langan, freelance

A Taliban-linked group kidnapped freelance British television journalist Sean Langan and his translator near the town of Torkham on the border with Pakistan. He was working in Afghanistan on a documentary series for publicly owned U.K. broadcaster Channel 4, according to U.K. news reports.
Langan arranged to meet with Taliban leaders across the border in Pakistan on March 28, but was taken captive with his translator en route, according to The Daily Mail. He was released on June 21, according to international news reports. His translator, an Afghan, was named by The Times of London only as “Sammy.” He was also freed, according to the Mail.

Langan’s kidnapping was not immediately reported. The Times reported that Channel 4 learned of the kidnapping three weeks after it took place. After his release, Channel 4 and Langan’s family said they had been working to secure his release. “We have negotiated with his kidnappers for the last couple of weeks. Before that we were unaware of his kidnapping,” his family said in a statement released after Langan’s return to Britain. The U.K. Foreign Office said they had not been directly involved in the negotiations, according to U.K. news reports.

Channel 4 denied paying a ransom to secure Langan’s release. They said it was a criminal, rather than a political kidnapping, according to U.K. news reports.