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Central & South Asia
Al Jazeera journalists released
The two producers were detained after the channel aired a report on the Taliban.
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2009 19:52 GMT
Qais, left, and Shah had been kept at the intelligence headquarters in Kabul for three days

Afghan authorities have released two Al Jazeera producers who had been kept at the intelligence headquarters in Kabul for three days.

Qais Azimy, a senior producer at Al Jazeera English channel, and Hameedullah Shah, from the Arabic service, were freed around 11:30 GMT on Wednesday.

The producers were detained on Sunday, two days after Al Jazeera aired a report on the Taliban in Kunduz province that was produced by Azimy.

The June 11 report showed a Taliban leader saying he had hundreds of men under his control and 12 suicide bombers waiting to strike.

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, said: "Freedom of the press is respected and allowed and guaranteed by Afghan law. But promotion of terrorism in the name of the freedom of the press is a violation of the press and freedom of the press.

"This government is a democratic, institutionalised government ... but the story that Al Jazeera produced from Kunduz is something we must pay attention to."

Campaigning for Afghanistan's presidential elections started on Tuesday, with the growing strength of the Taliban being a central issue.

'Balanced report'

David Chater, who filed the report for Al Jazeera, said: "Intelligence forces ... accuse us of producing something that is unbalanced, with no government representative.

"That is clearly untrue. We interviewed at the same time the commander of the German forces in Kunduz, and he put his point across very clearly. That was a balanced report.

"They also accuse us of shooting essentially what is fake material, staged action from the Taliban. Qais Azimy and myself know the difference between fake footage and real footage. We did not."

Azimy was detained after being advised to come to the intelligence headquarters for an interview, while Shah was  picked up from Al Jazeera's bureau by two officers.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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