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ASIA: Kidnapped Dutch journalist freed: employer

07 Nov 2008 9:35 PM

KABUL, Nov 7 AFP - A Dutch journalist kidnapped by suspected Taliban rebels in Afghanistan a week ago was freed today and was shocked but in good health, her employer said.

The woman, whose name was not released, was captured on Saturday last week while she was en route to do a story about militants who had killed 10 French soldiers in August, an editor at the Belgian P-magazine told AFP.

"Whether she was abducted on the way to them or by them we are not sure," Michael Lescroart told AFP from Belgium. "She was released this morning," hesaid.

The woman was captured in the Sarobi district, about 50km from the Afghan capital Kabul.

The kidnappers had claimed to be from the insurgent Taliban, Lescroart said. There had been a ransom demand but he refused to comment further.

Media in Afghanistan had been aware of the kidnapping but had not reported on it after being told it could endanger the journalist.

Asked about this, Lescroart said: "The media blackout did not help her case- it saved her life."

"I think it helped because we were afraid if she was in the media, they could set an example and that is what we wanted to avoid," he said.

The journalist, in her late 30s, was fine but shocked, Lescroart said.

She had been through a medical check-up at a NATO hospital.

The French soldiers were killed in Sarobi in August in the deadliest groundbattle for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force since foreign troops arrived in Afghanistan in 2001 to oust the Taliban government.

AFP jl =0A