2 Pak scribes held by Taliban in Afghanistan | india | Hindustan Times
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2 Pak scribes held by Taliban in Afghanistan

A local paper said its reporter Saleem Shahzad and another journalist Qamar Yousafzai have been detained by Taliban commander Matiullah.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2006 17:54 IST

Two Pakistani journalists have been held by Taliban in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan and put on trial for unknown reasons, a newspaper report said on Saturday.

Quoting family members, The Star, a local evening paper, said that its reporter Saleem Shahzad and another journalist Qamar Yousafzai have been detained by Taliban commander Matiullah.

"According to the message received on the telephone by his family this morning, he (Shahzad) said that he has been put on trial by the Taliban after his arrest on November 21," it said.

"He has been arrested by Taliban and put on trial for unknown reasons and unknown charges," the newspaper said and added that Shahzad reached Helmand on November 19 via southwest Chaman border to cover the insurgency in the region.

"Saleem was planning to cover the activities of Taliban inside Afghanistan," the report said.

Shahzad's wife has appealed to the Taliban high command to immediately release her husband as he had committed no crime and was known for fair and professional journalism, it said.

Shahzad also worked for the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online.

Meanwhile, Hameed Haroon, chief of Dawn Group, which owns The Star, urged international organisations to intervene and get both men released from Taliban.

"They are currently being tried by a Taliban Court in Helmand and my strong suspicion is that their lives are in danger unless international organisations intervene to help," Haroon said in an email to the agency.

The Pakistani embassy in Kabul and the NATO-led International Security Force (ISAF) officials said they had no information about the reported arrests.

First Published: Nov 25, 2006 17:54 IST