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French TV crew kidnapped northeast of Kabul

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is "extremely worried" about a TV crew working for the French TV station France 3 that was abducted in the northeastern province of Kapisa on 29 December 2009. The kidnap victims include two French journalists and at least two Afghans.

"The security situation in Afghanistan, including the Kapisa region, is such that we cannot rule out any hypothesis," Reporters Without Borders said. "We will have to wait before adopting a position on the fate of the France 3 crew but the Afghan and French authorities need to take immediate action."

The press freedom organisation added: "A degree of restraint must be shown in this case to avoid jeopardising the negotiating attempts that are under way."

The two French journalists – a reporter and a cameraman – and their Afghan crew were working for the France 3 current affairs programme "Pièce à conviction." There has been no word from them since they were intercepted by gunmen on a road near Omarkhil in Kapisa province on 29 December. They were reportedly using the Afghan journalist Mohamed Din as a fixer and an Afghan driver.

Abductions of foreign journalists have become increasingly frequent during the past three years. An Iraqi reporter employed by the London-based Guardian newspaper was kidnapped and then freed earlier this month. A total of nine journalists have been kidnapped by criminal groups or insurgents in Afghanistan this year.

This is the first time that French journalists have kidnapped in this fashion in the region since newspaper reporter Florence Aubenas' abduction in Iraq in January 2005.

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