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Pakistan 24 February 2003

Frontier Post journalist threatened by Afghan commander

Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières) expressed concern today about threats to journalist Syed Anwar, of the English-language daily The Frontier Post, by henchmen of an Afghan military commander and called on Pakistani authorities to ensure his safety.

Two secret service officials from the eastern Afghan border province of Nangarhar threatened him with "terrible personal consequences" after he reported in the Peshawar daily on 15 and 16 February that Hazrat Ali, the province’s military chief, had been arrested by US forces for drug-smuggling, kidnapping and supporting members of Al-Qaeda in their escape from the Tora Bora mountains.

Reporters Without Borders urged Pakistani Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali to guarantee the safety of all journalists covering Afghan affairs, especially those on the Frontier Post, where Anwar, an Afghan, heads the Afghan affairs desk.

The two secret service men, one of them called Abdul Rehmen, went to the newspaper’s offices in Peshawar to deliver their threat. They also warned that they could ban all Pakistani journalists from Afghanistan’s three eastern provinces. Anwar says he has feared for his life since their visit.

The authorities in Jalalabad banned the sale of The Frontier Post in Nangarhar province on 18 February.




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