Taliban detain two Pakistani journalists
KABUL: The Taliban in Afghanistan said on Saturday they were holding two Pakistani journalists because they had not been carrying travel documents. An earlier report said the pair had been kidnapped. The journalists would be released at the border, possibly tomorrow, said Mohammad Hanif, a spokesman for the movement driven from government in late 2001 and now trying to regain power. “We’ve taken them because they were not carrying any travel documents. But we’ll leave them near Pakistan border tomorrow or sometime,” Hanif told AFP.
Pakistani newspaper The Star had reported on Saturday that one of its journalists, Syed Saleem Shahzad, had called his family to say he and his colleague Qamar Yousafzai had been detained by the Taliban in Helmand on November 21. He said he had been put on trial by a Taliban “court” but did not know why. Shahzad, who has reported widely on the activities of the Taliban on both sides of the border, was in Afghanistan to cover the rebel movement, said the evening newspaper. The journalist also works for Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online.
Afghan authorities, the Pakistani embassy in Kabul and the Nato-led international security force officials said they had no information about the detention. The Taliban have captured several foreigners and Afghans in their campaign to destabilise fghanistan and undermine the new government and its international allies. They accused many of spying for foreign forces or the government and executed some of them. Shahzad had entered the country on November 19 via the Chaman border. The disputed frontier is porous and people are believed to be able to move across it without proper documents.