Journalists working with UN freed by Taliban

The United Nations' refugee agency confirmed on Friday that two journalists working with them, who had previously been detained by the Taliban, had been freed. 

"We are relieved to confirm the release in Kabul of the two journalists on assignment with [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees], and the Afghan nationals working with them. We are grateful to all who expressed concern and offered help," the U.N. agency tweeted on Friday. "We remain committed to the people of Afghanistan."

A Taliban official, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement over Twitter earlier on Friday that foreign nationals had been detained because they did not have documents, licenses or identity cards. He added that they had since been in touch with their families and freed.

The Committee to Protect Journalists earlier identified one of the journalists missing as former BBC journalist Andrew North. 

"The Taliban's detention of two journalists on assignment with the UN refugee agency is a sad reflection of the overall decline of press freedom and increasing attacks on journalists under Taliban rule," Steve Butler, the Committee to Protect Journalists Asia program coordinator, said in a statement released on Twitter earlier on Friday.

"Andrew North and the other, unidentified journalist should be freed immediately and allowed to continue their work, and the Taliban must halt its repeated attacks on and harassment of journalists," he added.

North's wife, Natalia Antelava, tweeted that she was "extremely concerned for his safety" and wanted help in securing his release.

The news comes as the international community continues to grapple with the aftermath of the United States' chaotic evacuation from Afghanistan, which fell to the Taliban in a matter of weeks. 

Officials remain worried that the Taliban may rule again as it did under the old guard, including targeting journalists, and countries have refrained from officially recognizing the Taliban's cabinet as the legitimate government in Afghanistan 



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