GMTV's heroine of Afghanistan signs up to join Dan Rather

Lara Logan, the television journalist whose looks have lately drawn more attention than her dispatches, has signed a big-money deal to join the doyen of American anchormen, Dan Rather, at CBS.

Logan will leave the GMTV breakfast station next week after returning from Afghan-istan, where she made her name by getting closer to the front line during the war than many more experienced, but less photogenic, reporters.

But since she flew out to Bagram two weeks ago the presence of the former model among the British troops on Operation Snipe has seen her making rather than reporting the news. That culminated in the front page of The Sun yesterday when Logan, 31, was accused of upsetting soldiers by wearing skimpy tops.

GMTV denied this version of events, describing the attention on Logan's looks as rather "sad" and pointing out she had been poached by CBS after winning several awards.

Logan will become a correspondent for CBS network shows and the primetime current affairs programme 60 Minutes Two, in a deal thought to be worth £500,000. She will be based in London, near where she lives with her husband, but will spend much time on foreign assignments.

Since joining GMTV two years ago, she has covered floods in Mozambique and land invasions in Zimbabwe and presented a five-part series on her home country, South Africa. Her profile rose with her reports from the Afghanistan front line, which provoked a row with ITN's senior correspondent Julian Manyon, who claimed she had used her "considerable physical charms" to get access to Northern Alliance leaders.

A GMTV spokeswoman said since then Logan had received a string of job offers and she had kept the station informed. She said there had been one complaint about Logan in Bagram, from a chef who was upset she had worn a sleeveless top in a mess hall, which was banned for hygiene reasons.

"Lara has covered major news stories on wars and conflicts in very difficult circumstances," she said. "I think it is a shame that some people appear to be more interested in her chest."

Paul Corley, GMTV's managing director, added: "Lara has done a terrific job for GMTV and will be much missed. We can take great pride from the fact that Britain's biggest breakfast show has developed a talent that has now been picked up by America's top current affairs programme."

Logan previously worked for CBS's rival, ABC news, as assignment editor on its London desk, before leaving to be a reporter on an environment series for Sky. She then worked as a freelance foreign correspondent for Channel 5, ITN, BBC and CNN, and as a spokes- woman for the aid group International Medical Corps.