Terror Alert: Western Journalists Targeted by Al Qaeda

By Krista Kjellman

Aug 14, 2007 1:03pm

Terrorists in Afghanistan are planning to kidnap Western journalists using offers of exclusive interviews as bait, according to a travel advisory from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "Credible reports indicate that terrorists are planning to lure Western journalists to Afghanistan with offers of interviews in order to take them hostage," an updated Australian travel advisory said today. The alleged plot is eerily similar to the method used to kidnap Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was killed by his kidnappers in 2002 after being led to a secret location in Pakistan with the promise of an exclusive interview. The U.S. State Department has continually warned against travel to Afghanistan. "There is an ongoing threat to kidnap and assassinate U.S. citizen and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout the country," it said in its latest travel advisory. "Remnants of the former Taliban regime and the terrorist al-Qa’ida networks, and other groups hostile to the Afghan and U.S. governments, remain active." Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment for the latest warning out of Australia. The threat against Western journalists follows the Taliban’s kidnapping of 23 South Korean aid workers last month. Demanding the release of Taliban prisoners, the group still holds 19 of them hostage. Of the remaining four, two have been executed and two released. And earlier this year, Italian journalist Daniel Mastrogiacomo was kidnapped by the Taliban. Mastrogiacomo was eventually released in exchange for the freedom of five Taliban officials, including military commander Mansour Dadullah. Dadullah has since led the "graduation ceremony" for 300 suicide bombers, as previously reported on the Blotter on ABCNews.com. Do you have a tip for Brian Ross and the Investigative Team?

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