Kidnapped envoys plead for water

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The Independent Online
JALALABAD, Afghanistan - Three European diplomats kidnapped in Afghanistan have pleaded for water and urgent help from their governments to free them in a second letter smuggled out from captivity.

The letter, smuggled to Pakistan on Saturday, accused Pakistani officials negotiating their release of holding up any solution.' Our health is deteriorating very badly,' it said. 'Do something for us] We need water most urgently.' The three - Jack Dodds from Britain, Stefan Elhert, from Germany and Gert Piening of the Netherlands - are anti-narcotics officials who were on a trip to Pakistan's Baluchistan province.

Mujahedin guerrilla leaders holding peace talks in Jalalabad have said they will 'assist' in efforts to release the diplomats, according to the ambassadors of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in Kabul, who arrived in this eastern city on Saturday seeking to make contact with the mujahedin leaders.

Pakistani officials say the Afghan mujahedin commander Ghulam Nabi Noorzai abducted the diplomats 11 days ago inside Afghanistan, and is holding them hostage until Pakistan frees two of his men arrested for gun-running.

Islamabad has disputed statements in a letter from the diplomats last week that they were being held in chains in a cave and fed only bread and tea.