Afghans Make Arrests in Journalists’ Deaths


(AP) Afghan security forces arrested at least four men in connection with the killing of four foreign journalists during the 2001 U.S.-led war that toppled the Taliban government, officials said Monday.

The suspects were detained over the weekend in Sarobi district, just east of the capital, Kabul, said Shah Noor Khan, chief of staff for senior Afghan intelligence chief Engineer Arif.

“We’ve been tracking these people a long time,” Khan said. “Two of them confessed to killing those journalists.”

The men were being held in a special jail at the intelligence directorate. Khan declined to give further details.

The journalists were traveling in a convoy from the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad to Kabul when a group of armed men dragged them from their cars and shot them to death on Nov. 19, 2001.

They were Reuters photographer Aziz Haidari, a native of Afghanistan who had been living in Pakistan; Harry Burton, an Australian cameraman for Reuters TV; Maria Grazia Cutuli, a journalist for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera; and Julio Fuentes, a journalist for the Spanish daily El Mundo.

State-run radio’s Pashtu service said late Monday that a fifth person also was arrested but the report could not be immediately confirmed. Pashtu said they were Taliban and al-Qaida supporters, although no evidence of their links with either was given.

Earlier police arrested two men in connection with the killing. The men were never tried and were later released.

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