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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.