KABUL, Afghanistan — Three journalists picked up by coalition forces or the Afghan intelligence service for their suspected links to Taliban propaganda networks have been freed after brief detentions that prompted angry reaction from journalism advocates and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's call for their quick release.
NATO said Friday that it had released Mohammad Nadir, a television cameraman for al-Jazeera, and Rahmatullah Naikzad, who worked for both al-Jazeera and The Associated Press.
"After reviewing the initial intelligence and information received during questioning, the two men were not considered a significant security threat and were released," said Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, communications director for the NATO-led military coalition. "During their brief detention, they were treated humanely and in accordance with international law and US policies."
"No news agency working in Afghanistan was targeted as part of these operations, and no guilt or innocence is presumed by our activities," Smith said. "The operations were conducted with our Afghan partners and based on intelligence gathered over an extended period of time, focusing on insurgent propaganda networks and their affiliates."