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Taliban kill kidnapped Afghan journalist

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an 8 April 2007 IFJ media release:

New Death Sparks IFJ Warning that Bargaining with Taliban Increases Risk to Foreign Media

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the "cynical and sickening brutality" of Taliban extremists who murdered a local journalist and interpreter and warned that negotiating with terrorist extremists who kidnap journalists will encourage targeting of foreign media teams working in Afghanistan.

The murder of Ajmal Nasqhbandi confirms the IFJ warning that Afghanistan is fast-becoming a "no-go" area for news media. Nasqhbandi was kidnapped with Italian journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo and their driver Sayed Agha on March 6.

The driver was beheaded by his captors and a deal was struck involving Italian and Afghan authorities that secured the release of Mastrogiacomo who works for the Italian daily La Repubblica. But when the Kabul government refused to meet new demands to free Nasqhbandi he was killed. His death was announced on Sunday.

"The inhumanity and unspeakable brutality of this group cannot be overstated," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "If deals are done which free foreigners, while locals are butchered it puts a price on the head of any media person from abroad working in Afghanistan."

"The cynical and sickening brutality of the killing of Sayed Agha and now Ajmal Nasqhbandi emphasise more than ever our message."

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries worldwide.

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