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Kidnapped Italian Journalist Seeks Media Help

KABUL, Oct 19 (Pajhwok Afghan News): The Italian journalist, who was kidnapped in Afghanistan, Thursday appealed media and fellow-journalists to help him in his release from the clutches of abductors.

Arranging his talks with Pajhwok Afghan News by the kidnappers from undisclosed location, Gabriele Torsello said he was under constant threat and extreme pressure from his abductors. His words were rightly supported by his shaky voice while talking to this news agency.

"The kidnappers frequently tell me that I am a spy and that British troops bombed Musa Qala and Nawzad districts on my intelligence," said Toresllo. He said he did not know where he was kept as the abductors blindfolded him after he was forcibly got off the car. Interrupting, the Torsello's conversation, the kidnappers repeated their demand of handing over of an Afghan convert to Christianity, who was granted asylum by Italy and also withdrawal of Italian forces from Afghanistan.

The abductors, contrary to their previous remarks, distanced themselves from the Taliban and said they were just Muslims fighting foreign occupation in this war-battered country.

A man speaking harshly with local Helmandi accent warned if the Afghan Christian convert Abdul Rahman was not handed over to an Islamic court for trial and unless Italian soldiers leave Afghanistan, they would kill the journalist by Monday midnight.

When our reporter asked Torsello of the treatment by the abductors, the men around him prevented him to say anything.

The Taliban have again said they were not involved in kidnapping of the journalist and neither they made any demands. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi distanced the movement from the abductors on Thursday again.

Five unidentified gunmen kidnapped Torsell from a car when he was on his way from Lashkargah to Kandahar on October 12. Torsello went from Lashkargah to Kabul on September 19. Earlier, he told Pajhwok Afghan News that he had photo agency and website and wanted to visit some districts for taking snaps. He also visited Musa Qala district of the southern Helmand province and took several pictures.

Ghulam Mohammad, a passenger traveling with Torsello from Lashkargah to Kandahar, said the photojournalist was abducted by unidentified armed men.

He told this news agency five gunmen stopped their vehicle and kidnapped the Italian journalist. When Torsello was contacted on his cellphone, the reply Pajhwok received:" Yes, we are Taliban and we have abducted the foreigner on charges of spying."

Italy's defense minister has ruled out a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan as demanded by the kidnappers of an Italian photojournalist.

Defense Minister Arturo Parisi Thursday said the troops would stay in Afghanistan despite the new demand.

Kidnappers who seized Italian photojournalist Gabriele Torsello in Afghanistan last week issued the demand late Wednesday.

Previously, the abductors said they would release Torsello if Italian authorities returned an Afghan convert to Christianity who was granted asylum in Italy.

Authorities blamed the abduction on the Taleban, but the radical Islamist group denies any involvement. In Rome, the Foreign Ministry said it was working for the release of the photographer.

Date posted: October 19, 2006 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 9