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Al Jazeera journalists released in Afghanistan

KABUL: One British and three Afghan journalists working for Al Jazeera television were captured by Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan, held overnight and released yesterday, one of the team said.

The four men were captured in the volatile province of Helmand, Al Jazeera producer Qais Azimy said.

"We were captured by Taliban. They behaved well with us," he said by telephone. "Today before evening we were released."

The Kabul office of the Qatar-based satellite channel said earlier it lost contact with the television crew on Tuesday and was told by the Taliban they had been captured.

The office asked for the information not to be released until the team was safe.

A purported Taliban spokesman said the four had "entered our area without Taliban permission" and were "taken into custody" near the town of Gereshk.

The movement's leadership had decided to release the journalists, spokesman Yousuf Ahmadi said before they were freed.

Helmand has seen fierce battles this month between security forces and the Taliban, which has kidnapped and sometimes executed several Afghans and foreigners since being toppled from power in 2001.

Italian photojournalist Gabriele Torsello was kidnapped on October 12 in Helmand province and released three weeks later. He said he had not seen daylight throughout the ordeal.

Taliban spokesmen denied involvement in the kidnapping, but the abductors had claimed to be with the militant movement.

In November, two Pakistani journalists were held for five days by Taliban apparently also for entering a district of Helmand without Taliban permission.

Meanwhile, a Spanish female soldier was killed and two other soldiers injured yesterday in an attack against a military convoy near Shindand in Afghanistan, the Defence Ministry said in Madrid.

The victim was identified as Idoia Rodriguez Bujan. She and the two others were travelling in an armoured ambulance forming part of a convoy comprising four other vehicles.

The Spaniards were backing up Italian teams instructing the Afghan army.

The lives of the two injured soldiers, both men, was reportedly not in danger

Date posted: February 22, 2007 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 10