2 Western journalists among 4 freed by Taliban

The Taliban have announced the release of two Western journalists working for the United Nations refugee agency.

Andrew North, a British freelance reporter, and an Irish photographer had been arrested along with two Afghans in Kabul four days back.

The Wall Street Journal quoted the Taliban as saying late on Friday the Western journalists had been detained because they did not have the right paperwork.

However, according to the American newspaper, the journalists were set free following the verification of their identities by the Taliban.

Meanwhile, the UN refugee agency said: “We are relieved that we can confirm the release in Kabul of the two journalists on assignment with UNHCR, and the Afghan nationals working with them.”

Before their release, a statement from the UN said: “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.”

Earlier, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council said it was unacceptable for the Taliban to hold hostage human beings.

Emily Horne added: “Through direct and indirect communications with the Taliban, we have urged the release of any and all individuals who are unjustly being held by the Taliban and their proxies.”