Taliban: Detained British Journalist Could Be Spy
Afghanistan's Taliban militia will question a detained British journalist to determine whether she is a spy, a report said Sunday.
The Taliban sent a special investigation team from Kabul to Jalalabad to question the London-based Sunday Express reporter, Yvonne Ridley, who was arrested Friday for allegedly entering Afghanistan illegally from Pakistan.
"We want to ascertain whether the woman is a journalist or whether she was working for some spy agency," the Pakistan-based Afghan Islamic Press quoted a Taliban official as saying.
The official said Ridley was in good health, but he did not say when the probe would be completed or what the likely outcome would be.
"She wants food four or five times a day, smokes cigarettes and wants new clothes. We are providing her everything. Her condition is fine," the official said.
Another Taliban source said: "She is not confined in a room. She lives in a house which has a courtyard and a garden. Sometimes she is in her room, sometimes she walks in the garden."
Ridley was being held in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad and her case had been handed over to the Taliban intelligence department.
But according to the British Sunday newspaper, Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Mutawakel had said: "She will be held for a maximum of one week in prison and will then be released and deported."
A Taliban diplomatic source in Peshawar, Pakistan, earlier told AFP that Ridley had disguised herself underneath a burqa -- a cone-shaped all-covering garment -- to enter the country, and could have been spying.
"When someone enters Afghanistan like this we become suspicious they are spies. This is being investigated," said the source, who declined to give his name.
The charge of spying in Taliban-held Afghanistan carries the death penalty.
"This is a very serious incident and the investigation could take some time," the source added -- ISLAMABAD (AFP)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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