Two journalists working for the United Nations have been detained in Kabul, Afghanistan, the global agency said in a tweet Friday February 11.
There are also reports of at least eight other Westerners also held in the war-torn nation.
“Two journalists with UNHCR and Afghan nationals working with them have been detained in Kabul. We are doing our utmost to resolve the situation, in coordination with others,” the UNHCR said in a tweet.
“We will make no further comment given the nature of the situation.”
Among those kidnapped is former BBC reporter Andrew North, Afghanistan’s former vice president Amrullah Saleh said.
“Andrew was in Kabul working for the UNHCR @Refugees trying to help the people of Afghanistan. We are extremely concerned for his safety & call on anyone with influence to help secure his release.” his wife Natalia Antelava said in a tweet.
Saleh also claimed that eight other Westerners were “kidnapped” by the Taliban, who seized power last year.
“Due to no media, no reporting by citizens & a suffocating atmosphere corruption, crime & atrocities aren’t well exposed,” he tweeted Friday.
“As an example, 9 citizens of western countries have been kidnapped amongst them Andrew North of BBC & Peter Juvenal owner of Gandomak Restaurant.”
A member of a Taliban intelligence unit in Kabul told the Washington Post that “several foreign nationals” were arrested in Kabul on charges of working for Western intelligence agencies.
The BBC’s foreign editor, Paul Danahar, said in a tweet that Andrew North “is working for the UN in Kabul.”
“He is a former colleague and a respected journalist,” he added.
“All inquiries about his situation, which his friends and colleagues are obviously concerned about, should be directed to the UN.”
Taliban government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the authorities were looking into the matter, Agence France-Presse reported.
“We have received information about this and are trying to confirm whether they have been detained or not,” he said.