the Taliban have kidnapped nine Westerners, including the former BBC journalist Andrew North, Afghanistan’s former vice president Amrullah Saleh has claimed.
Andrew North is believed to be working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said: “Two journalists 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.”
Amrulla Saleh initially made the claims on Twitter, writing: “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”.
Afghan media outlet, after allhas reported that a BBC World Service source confirmed that Mr North had been kidnapped.
Executive editor of world news content for BBC News, Paul Danahar, said on social media: “Andrew North is working for the UN in Kabul. He is a former colleague and a respected journalist. All about his situation, which his friends and colleagues are obviously concerned about inquiries, should be directed to the UN.”
Mr North’s wife, Natalia Antelava, appealed for assistance on Twitter.
Andrew was in Kabul working for the UNHCR trying to help the people of Afghanistan. We are extremely concerned for his safety and call on anyone with influence to help secure his release,” she said.