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Taliban detain UK journalist

Yvonne Ridley is being questioned by the Taliban after being arrested inside Afghanistan
Yvonne Ridley is being questioned by the Taliban after being arrested inside Afghanistan  

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Diplomatic efforts are being made to secure the release of a British female journalist being held by Afghanistan's ruling Taliban.

Yvonne Ridley, a reporter for the London-based Sunday Express newspaper, was arrested on Friday along with her two guides near the eastern city of Jalalabad, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) said.

Ridley was dressed in Afghan clothes and her head was wrapped in a scarf when she was arrested in Daur Baba district, about 35 miles from Jalalabad, AIP reported.

The reporter was not carrying any travel documents and had entered the country without permission, AIP quoted an official in Jalalabad as saying.

Last week, the Taliban ordered foreign reporters to leave the country after fears of American air strikes in the wake of the attacks in the United States.

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The UK Foreign Office and aid agencies were working on Saturday to free the 43-year-old mother of one, who had been in the area since the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office told CNN: "We are in contact with the Taliban over this case.

"We are deeply concerned for her welfare and seek to pursue this with the utmost vigor and care."

Sunday Express Editor Martin Townsend told the Press Association: "We are deeply concerned about Yvonne and are co-operating with all agencies to secure her safe release.

"She is an experienced and courageous journalist and we will do everything we can to bring her home safely."

Ridley's nine-year-old daughter, Daisy, is being cared for by her grandparents, Alan and Joyce Ridley, at their home in West Pelton, County Durham, north-east England.

Ridley has worked for the Sunday Times, The Observer and The Independent and is a former assistant editor of the Sunday Sun.

Former colleague Colin Patterson, the Sunday Sun's deputy editor, said: "She is a very warm, gregarious sort of person who is very determined and tenacious. She is a good reporter and must be a daredevil to do what she has."


• Sunday Express
• Foreign & Commonwealth Office

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