Taliban kidnap nine Westerners including ex-BBC journalist Andrew North, says former Afghan vice-president

Mr North is believed to have been working for the United Nations

<p>Former BBC colleagues of British journalist Andrew North have expressed their concerns after claims that he had been kidnapped by the Taliban. </p>

Former BBC colleagues of British journalist Andrew North have expressed their concerns after claims that he had been kidnapped by the Taliban.

The Taliban have kidnapped nine Westerners, including the former BBC journalist Andrew North, Afghanistan’s former vice-president Amrullah Saleh has claimed.

Andrew North is believed to be working for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, said: “Two journalists with UNHCR and Afghan nationals working with them have been detained in Kabul. We are doing our utmost to resolve the situation, in coordination with others.

“We will make no further comment given the nature of the situation.”

Amrulla Saleh initially made the claims on Twitter, writing: “Due to no media, no reporting by citizens and a suffocating atmosphere, corruption, crime and atrocities aren’t well exposed. As an example nine citizens of Western countries have been kidnapped - amongst them Andrew North of BBC”.

Andrew North in 2014 reporting from Pakistan in his role as BBC South Asia correspondent

Afghan media outlet, Afintl, has reported that a BBC World Service source confirmed that Mr North had been kidnapped.

Executive editor of world news content for BBC News, Paul Danahar, said on social media: “Andrew North is working for the UN in Kabul. He is a former colleague and a respected journalist. All inquiries about his situation, which his friends and colleagues are obviously concerned about, should be directed to the UN.”

Mr North’s wife, Natalia Antelava, appealed for assistance on Twitter.

“Andrew was in Kabul working for the UNHCR trying to help the people of Afghanistan. We are extremely concerned for his safety and call on anyone with influence to help secure his release,” she said.

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