NOVEMBER 21, 2006
Posted: December 27, 2006
Syed Saleem Shahzad, The Star and Asia Times Online
Qamar Yousafzai, freelance
The two Pakistani journalists were seized by Taliban forces and held for five days in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. After their release, Shahzad told reporters that they had been held for entering the province without Taliban permission and were suspected of being spies.
Shahzad and Yousafzai said they were grabbed in the remote Baghran district while reporting on Taliban bases and interviewing Taliban commanders about plans for an expected offensive against Afghan and NATO troops. The men said they were not harmed. Shahzad said tribesmen in the area were instructed to “keep an eye” on them while they identities were confirmed. Shahzad said the dry mountainous terrain made it impossible for them to leave on their own.