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.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference