Ex-BBC journalist Andrew North ‘kidnapped by Taliban’ according to reports


Ex-BBC journalist Andrew North is among a number of foreigners kidnapped by the Taliban in recent months, according to sources.

The Mirror reports that Afghanistan’s former Vice President Amrullah Saleh says nine people from western countries, including former BBC journalist and current UN worker North, are among those taken by the group in the last few months.

He tweeted: “Due to no media, no reporting by citizens and a suffocating atmosphere corruption, crime and atrocities aren’t well exposed.

“As an example nine citizens of western countries have been kidnapped amongst them Andrew North of BBC & Peter Juvenal owner of Gandomak Restaurant.

“Talibans are liars.”

The Taliban has controlled Afghanistan since August last year
The Taliban has controlled Afghanistan since August last year

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed to the Mirror two journalists have been detained in Kabul and they are working to “resolve the issue”.

The claims were confirmed by Afghanistan media, with one journalist tweeting: “Former BBC journalist Andrew North have been kidnapped by the Taliban. Sources confirmed to AFIntlBrk that the number of foreigners kidnapped by the Taliban reached 9.”

The Taliban have not yet commented on the alleged abduction.

A spokesman for UNHCR said: “Two journalists on assignment with UNHCR and Afghan nationals working with them have been detained in Kabul.

“We are doing our utmost to resolve the situation, in coordination with others. We will make no further comment given the nature of the situation.”

In a recent article posted on his personal website, Mr North described his trip to several Afghan provinces and meeting with Taliban leaders.

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He said the reality of life in Afghanistan is “more complex” than media reports show.

He added: “The group once dubbed “Islamic Maoists” has not been quite as ruthless as many feared — so far.

“That came through clearly during several weeks in the fall I spent traveling around Afghanistan, meeting various Taliban figures and seeing the results in daily life.

“It all adds to a sense of malaise, with an ominous feeling of worse to come.”

Andrew North reported on the Middle East for the BBC
Andrew North reported on the Middle East for the BBC

It comes after senior British diplomats met with leading Taliban figures to discuss the “dire” humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

The UK does not recognize the Taliban regime which swept to power in 2021 amid chaotic scenes as Western forces pulled out of Kabul.

The United Nations’ World Food Program has warned that 8.7 million people in Afghanistan are at risk of starvation.

The UK withdrew its diplomats from Kabul last year, but officials returned to Afghanistan for talks on Thursday.

Nick Dyer, the UK’s special envoy for famine prevention, Hugo Shorter, the charge d’affaires ad interim of the UK mission to Afghanistan and Hester Waddams, the deputy head of mission, held talks with senior Taliban officials.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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