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Taleban Checking if Arrested French Reporter is Spy - 2001-10-10


The Taleban ambassador to Pakistan says the Islamic movement is investigating whether a French reporter arrested in eastern Afghanistan is a spy.

Ambassador Mullah Abdul Zaeef made the remark during a news conference in Islamabad today (Wednesday).

Reporter Michel Peyrard of the weekly magazine Paris Match was arrested Tuesday after entering Afghanistan disguised as a veiled woman.

Taleban officials said they also seized "equipment used for spying." The equipment included a satellite telephone and tape recorder.

Mr. Peyrard was arrested near the Pakistani border and then taken to the Afghan city of Jalalabad for questioning by Taleban intelligence officials. Two Pakistani guides traveling with him were also arrested.

Paris Match issued a statement demanding Mr. Peyrard's release, saying he had been carrying out his work as a journalist.

On Monday, the Taleban released British journalist Yvonne Ridley who had been detained more than one week. She had also tried to sneak into Afghanistan under a burqa - the face-covering full-length veil that is compulsory for women in Taleban controlled areas.

Taleban authorities have alleged that foreign special forces operatives are in the area and are posing as journalists.

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