New York, January 4, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the fate of two French journalists and their three Afghan colleagues, all apparently kidnapped while on assignment in the eastern province of Kapisa for France 3 public television station. The Afghan government reported them kidnapped on December 30. The names of the crew have not been released by the Afghan or French governments, and France 3 has declined to publicly identify them. CPJ was unable to reach the station immediately for comment.
initial claims by some news media that they were being held by the Taliban, spokesmen
for a few Taliban organizations told news organizations in Kabul on Sunday that they were not holding
the men, but many local Taliban groups operate independently. Agence
France-Presse quoted French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner today as saying:
“We are trying to establish contact. But I am saying very clearly, we have
none.” AFP said the five men disappeared while on their way to meet a source 40
miles (60 kilometers) from Kabul,
near French military bases.
French government issued a statement saying French troops in the area had
launched a search for the men. According to AFP, Kouchner said he believed the
journalists were still alive, based on the French military’s knowledge of the
area where they were taken.
with their Afghan and French colleagues, we share the concern for these men’s
safety, and hope that they will soon be found,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The brutal reality is that
very often it is the Afghan victims who bear the brunt of rescue attempts—we
hope that all sides show restraint as this situation is resolved.”
attacks on journalists appear to be accelerating in Afghanistan. On Wednesday, Calgary Herald and CanWest reporter Michelle Lang was killed in by a roadside improvised explosive device
while traveling with Canadian troops in Kandahar.
She was the 17th journalist to be killed in
conflict there began in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Eleven
of those who died were foreign reporters.
April 2007, Ajmal Naqshbandi was beheaded in the Garmsir district of
Helmand province after the Afghan government refused demands to free jailed
Taliban leaders in exchange for his release. Naqshbandi had been abducted on
March 4, 2007, with La Repubblica reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo and
the group's driver, Sayed Agha, in Helmand
province. Agha was slain a few days after the abduction, while the Italian
Mastrogiacomo was released March 19, 2007, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners.