THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

2 journalists missing in Afghanistan

By Associated Press
January 1, 2010

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PARIS - Two French journalists and their local guides have gone missing in Afghanistan, the French government said yesterday in what one Afghan official called a kidnapping.

The journalists for France-3 television went missing Wednesday while traveling in Kapisa Province, where French soldiers are fighting Taliban and other insurgents as part of a NATO mission to help bring more stability to Afghanistan.

Halim Ayar, a spokesman for the Kapisa governor in Afghanistan, said the journalists, their driver, and a guard were kidnapped while going to Kapisa from the Surobi district of Kabul Province.

French officials stopped short of such assertions.

“We have no news from them, but we don’t have any claim of responsibility either,’’ Defense Minister Herve Morin of France told France-Info radio from Afghanistan, where he was visiting French troops for the start of the new year.

Morin said France’s only information was from indirect and unconfirmed witness accounts, and that “for the moment’’ it was not appropriate “to talk about a kidnapping.’’

“We’ll know more in the hours or days ahead,’’ Morin added. He said some colleagues of the missing journalists said they had left to go speak with villagers.