French photographer escapes captors in Afghanistan

New York, April 8, 2013–Pierre Borghi, a French photographer who was abducted in Kabul more than four months ago, has escaped his captors, according to news reports citing the Afghan government. Borghi’s disappearance had not been made public in 2012 at the request of the French authorities who were trying to secure the journalist’s release.

The Associated Press and Reuters reported on Monday that Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, had confirmed Borghi’s release. The reports said Borghi had escaped his captors, who were holding him in Wardak province, and been found by Afghan security forces. Sediqqi said the journalist had been abducted in November from a busy part of Kabul, the capital.

“Pierre Borghi’s ordeal is a grim reminder of the dangers faced by local and international journalists while covering the critical but dangerous story in Afghanistan,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

CPJ has documented the practice of not publicizing abductions, a tactic sometimes pursued by news agencies and governments that claim secrecy improves the chances an abducted individual will be released safely. The tactic and its effectiveness have generated considerable debate.

At least 21 local and international journalists were abducted in 2012 by various sides of the conflict, including government or pro-government militias; rebel or rebel-affiliated groups; and non-Syrian Islamic extremist groups, according to CPJ research. Most have been released.