Kidnapped Japanese journalist freed in Afghanistan: Report

A Japanese journalist believed to have been kidnapped by the Afghan Taliban has been released after five months, a report said on Sunday.

Updated: Sep 05, 2010, 15:42 PM IST

Tokyo: A Japanese journalist believed to
have been kidnapped by the Afghan Taliban has been released
after five months, a report said on Sunday.

Kosuke Tsuneoka, a freelance journalist who had been
missing in northern Afghanistan since April, is now under
protection at the Japanese embassy in Kabul, the Jiji Press
agency said, quoting diplomatic sources.

A foreign ministry official in Tokyo declined to comment.
Members of the group holding Tsuneoka reportedly asked
the Japanese government to negotiate the release of their
imprisoned comrades, while Taliban militants also demanded the
Afghan government pay a ransom for the journalist.

Japanese media reported that negotiations were underway
on a payment of several hundred thousand dollars for
Tsuneoka`s release.

Criminal groups and Taliban insurgents have kidnapped
several dozen foreigners, many of them journalists, since the
2001 US-led invasion that ousted the Taliban regime in Kabul
and sparked the current insurgency.

In his last Twitter posting on March 31, Tsuneoka said
he had gone into a Taliban-controlled area in the country`s
north.

He had previously covered conflicts in Chechnya and
Iraq.

PTI