Aljazeera crew freed after Kabul arrest

Afghan police have released three Aljazeera employees in Kabul after holding them for hours, following their arrest by US forces earlier.

    The arrests took place in the capital, Kabul, on Sunday

    Wali Allah Shahin, Aljazeera's correspondent in Kabul, along with driver Mahmood Agha and cameraman Nasir Hashimi, were released on Sunday.

    US forces had earlier apprehended the three, confiscated their equipment and handed them over to the Afghan police.
     
    The US military said the trio were taking pictures of places marked as security zones around the coalition forces' headquarters.

    Lieutenant Mike Cody, a US military spokesman, said security forces on contract with US-led forces detained the trio, took control of their equipment and passed them on to the Afghan police.

    He said the men were held after they were seen "filming security features in the vicinity of Camp Eggers in Kabul".

    Civilian area

    But Samir Allawi, Aljazeera's Kabul bureau chief, said the team was merely following up on the Afghan government's plan to remove all illegal cement barriers blocking 48 Kabul roads, causing traffic problems.

    Allawi said the Afghan government was removing cement blocks near the US military headquarters.

    "This area is purely civilian where there was nothing to indicate that taking pictures was prohibited. The team then began to set their filming equipment when the US embassy guards came, apprehended them and took them to the US military command for questioning," Allawi said.
     
    The three were taken for questioning and were only released after signing an affidavit that they would not violate the law.
     
    "Then we contacted the Afghani Interior Ministry and we were clearly told that what the team had done did not constitute a violation of the law.

    "That was also confirmed by the police officer who escorted our colleagues. Nevertheless, the US forces seized the team's mobile phones and cameras and cancelled the press card of our colleague, Wali Allah Shahin," Allawi said.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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