Two journalists and number of Afghan nationals arrested in Kabul, UN says
A former BBC journalist is among a number of people who have been detained in Kabul.
A second journalist and a number of Afghan nationals are also believed to have been held by the Taliban in the capital.
They were on assignment with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Afghan nationals.
One of those being held is former BBC journalist Andrew North.
His partner Natalia Antelava tweeted: “Andrew was in Kabul working for the UNHCR & trying to help the people of Afghanistan. We are extremely concerned for his safety & call on anyone with influence to help secure his release.”
Two journalists on assignment with UNHCR and Afghan nationals working with them have been detained in Kabul. We are doing our utmost to resolve the situation, in coordination with others.
We will make no further comment given the nature of the situation.
— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) February 11, 2022
The UNHCR said in a statement: “We are doing our utmost to resolve the situation, in coordination with others. We will make no further comment given the nature of the situation.”
The Taliban have not yet commented on the alleged incident.
The National Directorate of Security, which is the Taliban’s security and intelligence agency said it does not have any information on the matter.
“We have no information about them, when and where they have disappeared, we haven’t reached any information yet; we are trying to find information,” said NDS spokesperson Khalil Hamraz, adding the directorate was in touch with the interior ministry about the issue.
Thank you everyone for your messages. Andrew was in Kabul working for the UNHCR & trying to help the people of Afghanistan. We are extremely concerned for his safety & call on anyone with influence to help secure his release. https://t.co/lgVblvlaa3
— natalia antelava (@antelava) February 11, 2022
UN agencies employ journalists to report on their work around the world.
It comes after senior British diplomats met with leading Taliban figures in Oslo to discuss the “humanitarian situation in Afghanistan”.
The UK does not recognise the Taliban regime, which took power last year during chaotic scenes as Western forces pulled out of Kabul.
A Taliban delegation visited Geneva this week for talks with aid agencies and meetings with Swiss officials.
The Swiss foreign ministry said it planned to call on the Taliban to respect human rights and international humanitarian law.
The United Nations’ World Food Programme has warned that 8.7 million people in Afghanistan are at risk of starvation.
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