Sun, Jan 03, 2010 - Page 4 News List

Kidnapped French journalists alive, Kabul source says


Two French journalists kidnapped in eastern Afghanistan this week are thought to be alive and in good health, a source involved in efforts to free them said on Friday.

The condition of three Afghan assistants abducted with the journalists from France’s public television broadcaster on Wednesday was unclear, however, the source said from Kabul.

“The two French journalists appear to be alive, in good health and being well treated,” the source said.

Suspected Taliban militants snatched the journalists in the war-torn country about 60km from the Afghan capital, a French journalist working with them said.

The kidnappers were yet to issue any claim of responsibility late on Friday, more than 30 hours after the journalists disappeared. Criminal groups and Taliban insurgents have kidnapped several dozen foreigners, many of them journalists, since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban regime in Kabul, sparking a nine-year insurgency.

The journalists, accompanied by their Afghan translator and the translator’s brother and cousin, were kidnapped on the road between Surobi and Tagab, their French colleague said.

She blamed the kidnapping on the Taliban, saying they had laid an ambush on the road for the group in Kapisa Province.

A spokesman for local authorities in the province confirmed the kidnapping and said French soldiers and Afghan security forces had launched a hunt.

The journalists’ employer, public broadcaster France Television, confirmed late on Friday the pair had been abducted.

“We have heard that they are alive and in good health,” said director of news Paul Nahon, without giving further details.

On assignment for channel France 3, the team arrived on Wednesday morning in the town of Sarobi to meet a contact who agreed for them to continue north on the road to Tagab.

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