Afghanistan: UN appeals to kidnappers of reporter

The United Nations mission in Afghanistan has appealed to the kidnappers of an Italian reporter and his two Afghan colleagues to show their humanity and release the three men taken captive nearly two weeks ago. Daniele Mastrogiacomo, a reporter for Italian daily La Repubblica, was kidnapped along with two Afghans traveling with him on March 5 in southern Helmand province's Nad Ali district. Taliban insurgents have claimed responsibility. "Mastrogiacomo is a well-known journalist whose sympathies for the people of Afghanistan should be beyond doubt to anyone," the UN mission in Afghanistan said in a statement Saturday. "Throughout his reporting of this region over many years he has displayed compassion for the poor and suffering, communicating their voices to the outside world," it said. "We know of no reason whatsoever for him to be under anyone's suspicion."