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Across the globe, journalists urge release of kidnapped colleague

Monday 2 April 2007

The Committee to Protect Journalists today issued an open letter urging the release of abducted Afghan journalist Ajmal Nakshbandi, who has been held captive by the Taliban since March 4. The letter is signed by more than 80 prominent journalists from an array of local and international news organizations. Those signing include CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, CPJ Honorary Co-Chairman Terry Anderson, and Carlotta Gall of The New York Times. Here is the letter: We are writing to call attention to the case of Ajmal Nakshbandi, an Afghan freelance journalist who was abducted in Helmand province with La Repubblica reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo and driver Sayed Agha on March 4. Nakshbandi, a reporter in his own right, was serving as Mastrogiacomo’s translator. Agha was beheaded a few days after the three men were seized, and Mastrogiacomo was released on March 19, apparently in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders. Only Nakshbandi remains captive, apparently held by the Taliban. His case has all but disappeared from Western media even as it draws extensive coverage in the Afghan press. As journalists who have worked closely with local reporters while covering war and conflict in many parts of the world, we are greatly concerned about Nakshbandi’s fate. He is admired as a first-rate reporter and knowledgeable colleague; his deep understanding of Afghanistan ’s complexities earned him a reputation for even-handedness. We join our Afghan colleagues in urging Nakshbandi’s captors to release him immediately. Fisnik Abrashi AP Correspondent, Kabul Mustafah Abdulaziz Photographer Christiane Amanpour Chief International Correspondent, CNN Jon Anderson Photographer Terry Anderson CPJ board member Petr Antonov Photographer Aryn Baker South Asia Correspondent, Time Magazine Jeff Ballou Deputy News Editor Al-Jazeera English Teresa Bo Correspondent Al-Jazeera English Silvia Boarini Photographer Jaime R. Carrero Photographer Thomas Coghlan Daily Telegraph Ben Connors Editor Al-Jazeera English Jim Cox Foreign Editor, USA Today Bernd Debusmann Special Correspondent, Reuters Bob Dietz CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Hector Emanuel Photographer Jim Erickson, Time Asia, Hong Kong Miguel Ribeiro Fernandes Photographer Walid el-Gabry President, Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists’ Association Carlotta Gall New York Times, Islamabad/Kabul Kathy Gannon Associated Press Ed Giles Photographer Stephen Graham Pakistan Correspondent, Associated Press Carol Grisanti NBC News Islamabad/Kabul Joe Harrison Photographer Camille El Hassani Broadcast Producer Al-Jazeera English Pat Hattori Photographer Gayle Hegland Photographer Diane Hodges Booker/Producer Al-Jazeera English Lisa Hogben Photographer Paul Holmes Editor, Political & General News Reuters Neal Jackson Photographer Sebastian Junger Journalist Ali Riza Kutlu Photographer Srinivas Kuruganti Photographer Amy Marash Video Journalist Al-Jazeera English David Marash Al-Jazeera English Washington , DC Wendy Marijnissen Photographer Daniele Mattioli Photographer Jesse Mesner-Hage Deputy News Editor Al-Jazeera English Omar Mullick Photographer Robert Nickelsberg Photographer Ian Olds Documentary Filmmaker Bernard Onderdonck Photographer Mark Orchard Deputy News Editor Al-Jazeera English Warrick Page Photographer Kat Palasi Photographer Christian Parenti The Nation Matthew Pennington AP Bureau Chief for Pakistan/Afghanistan Gretchen Peters ABC News Betsy Reed Executive Editor, The Nation Markel Redondo Photographer Alex Reshuan Photographer Simon Robinson Time Magazine South Asia Bureau Chief Jed Rothstein Lumiere Productions Florencia Saluzzo Photographer Mariana Sanchez Correspondent Al-Jazeera English Hanaan Sarhan News Writer Al-Jazeera English Tewfic El Sawy Photographer Nathan Shanahan Photographer Mark Seddon Correspondent Al-Jazeera English Joel Simon CPJ Executive Director Steve Simon Photographer Cal Skaggs Lumiere Productions Andy Smith Photographer Jethro Soudant Photographer Sree Sreenivasan Dean of Students, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism Will Stebbins Bureau Chief Al-Jazeera English Bruno Stevens Photographer Jason Straziuso AP Correspondent, Kabul Antony Stringer Photographer Mark Teboe Videographer Al-Jazeera English Sion Touhig Photographer Rick Valenzuela Photographer Julian Abram Wainwright Photographer Declan Walsh Pakistan/Afghanistan Correspondent, The Guardian William Widmer Photographer Snorre Wik Videographer Al-Jazeera English Daniel Wilkinson Photographer Matthew Williams Photographer Adam Wiseman Photographer Jeremy Young Package Producer Al-Jazeera English Hernan Zenteno Photographer

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