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Al Jazeera calls for release of its Afghan journalists


Kabul : Al Jazeera said Tuesday that it had been unable to contact two of its Afghan journalists who were detained by Afghanistan’s intelligence service and has called for their immediate release.

Qaiz Azimy and Hamdedullah Shah, who worked as producers for Al Jazeera Kabul bureau’s English and Arabic services have been held by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence wing, since Sunday.

Azimy was asked to report to NDS’ office headquarters in Kabul, while Shah was picked up from the station’s office in Kabul by two agents, Al Jazeera said in a statement late Monday.

“Al Jazeera is officially requesting information from the Afghan authorities and calling for their immediate release,” it said.

Staff at the channel said that they had no idea why the two were detained. Afghan authorities were unavailable for comment.

The statement said authorities might have been angered by a report Friday, in which Azimy was shown talking to Taliban militants in northern Kunduz province.

In the report, a Taliban commander said he had hundreds of fighters under his command and had twelve suicide bombers ready to strike.

Kunduz province, unlike many relatively peaceful provinces in the northern region, has seen an upsurge in Taliban attacks in the past months. Around 3,800 German soldiers are stationed in the region that includes Kunduz and Baghlan provinces, where the militants are active.

Taliban militants vowed to expand their battlefield from southern and eastern regions to other parts of the country under their new operation announced earlier this year.

Azimy had been in a Taliban-controlled area in southern Afghanistan before, where he had reported about the activities of the insurgents from Helmand province.