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Taliban frees 2 kidnapped Afghan journalists

Taliban militants who kidnapped two Afghan journalists have released them after three days in captivity, officials said on Sunday.

world Updated: Nov 30, 2008 19:31 IST

Taliban militants who kidnapped two Afghan journalists have released them after three days in captivity, officials said on Sunday.

The two journalists freed late Saturday are Dawa Khan Menapal of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Aziz Popal, who worked for a local TV station in Kandahar, said Gulab Shah Alikheil, the deputy governor of Zabul province.

Militants kidnapped the two in Ghazni province on Wednesday as they were driving on the country's main Kabul-Kandahar highway.

The Taliban's high council ordered the pair released without any condition because they were journalists, said Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman.

Popal said he and Menapal were not mistreated but they were driven to new locations around twice a day.

The abductions follow the kidnappings and releases of a Canadian and a Dutch journalist around Kabul in recent weeks that have underscored an increasingly dangerous environment for journalists working in Afghanistan.

Two journalists in Afghanistan have been killed this year, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Rahimullah Samandar, president of the Afghan Journalists Independent Association, said work for journalists in Afghanistan has become increasingly dangerous because of pressure from both armed militants and government officials.

Salih Mohammad Salih, who worked for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, said a Taliban commander named Rakmatullah repeatedly called him and told him he would send suicide bombers to attack him.