Officials warn of threat to journalists

Friday, March 8, 2002

KABUL, Afghanistan -- International peacekeepers in Afghanistan have received intelligence reports of new threats against journalists, possibly in response to the current U.S.-led campaign against al-Qaida and Taliban holdouts in eastern Afghanistan.

Capt. Graham Dunlop, spokesman for the 4,500-strong international peacekeeping force, said Thursday that peacekeepers had "received information of increased threat of kidnapping of journalists" working in Afghanistan.

"We urge all journalists to be extra vigilant," Dunlop told The Associated Press.

A correspondent for the Toronto Star newspaper in Canada was seriously injured in eastern Afghanistan when a hand grenade was hurled at her car on Monday. She was in the area covering the U.S.-led campaign there.

Eight journalists have been killed in Afghanistan since the United States began bombing the now ousted Taliban regime last October.

Dunlop said the latest threats against journalists are part of ongoing threats against Western interests in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials said this week that U.S. intelligence sources had learned of plots to conduct car bombings in Kabul against both western interests and the interim government of Hamid Karzai.

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