News

Warning of Further Kidnappings Issued in Afghanistan

Multimedia

Audio

Security experts are warning more abductions of reporters and other foreign personnel are likely in the war-torn country, following the kidnapping and controversial rescue of a British journalist in Afghanistan. 

The alert was issued after the kidnapping and rescue of a New York Times reporter in Kunduz province.  Another correspondent for the same newspaper was kidnapped outside Kabul last December and escaped his captors seven months later, after being taken to Pakistan.   

News about the two kidnappings was initially withheld from the public while authorities worked to secure the release of the reporters.

Risk consultant John Drake, of the British security company AKE, predicts several more such incidents will take place this year in Afghanistan.

"The security situation has not improved in the country over recent weeks," he said.  "And it looks like it is only going to get worse with no strong imposition of security or authority even after the election."

Security consultants say a foreigner gets kidnapped, on average, once every other month in the country, with ransom payments for their release reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In its just-issued warning,  AKE says members of the press remain most at risk, but all foreign personnel, including investors and business travel, also are potential targets.

AKE's Drake, speaking to VOA from Aberdeen, Scotland, says the Taliban and other groups have dual political and financial objectives by kidnapping correspondents and other foreigners.

"A lot of groups want to send a strong message to foreign governments by targeting foreign nationals who are operating in the country - the strategy being to convince the general public of coalition nations that their armies and armed forces should not be in Afghanistan," he said. "But a lot of groups that are responsible for the abductions are also very keen in obtaining ransom. It's a very lucrative source of money.  It is a major business in Afghanistan."

New York Times correspondent Stephen Farrell was freed unharmed by British commandos Wednesday.  Farrell's Afghan colleague, Sultan Munadi, was killed during the operation, along with one of the commandos, and an Afghan woman and a child who were caught in the cross fire.

Farrell, who has dual British-Irish citizenship, had been kidnapped once previously while on assignment in Iraq. 

The rescue operation to free him, approved at the highest levels of the British government, is being criticized in both Kabul and London amid reports that the captives were close to being freed through negotiations.
 
The Media Club of Afghanistan is blaming NATO forces for the death of their respected colleague, although it remains unclear whether Munadi was shot by the commandos or the Taliban.

Journalist Farhad Paykar, speaking on behalf of the organization, says international forces were reckless and demonstrated an inhumane double standard.

"There is no justification for the international forces to rescue their own national, and retrieve the dead body of their own soldier killed in action, and leave behind the dead body of Sultan Munadi in the area," said Paykar.

According to the U.S.-based Committee to Project Journalists, at least 17 foreign and Afghan journalists on duty in Afghanistan have been killed since the 2001 invasion to oust the Taliban from power.

More than 1,400 foreign troops have died while thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed by insurgents or as a result of military operations. 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs