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Journalists attacked on way to Kabul
November 19, 2001 Posted: 8:55 AM EST (1355 GMT)

JALALABAD, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A driver and a translator who were allowed to flee said Monday that two cars of a convoy carrying Western journalists were attacked on their way to Kabul.

The fate of as many as five people, all believed to be journalists, was unclear.

Reuters news agency said television cameraman Harry Burton, an Australian, and Azizullah Haidari, an Afghan-born photographer, were among the journalists.

In addition, their newspapers said Maria Grazia Cutuli of the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera in Milan and Julio Fuentes of the Madrid daily El Mundo, were involved in the incident.

The identity of a fifth person was unclear. The driver said there were five journalists, but the translator said only four.

The driver and translator said the lead two cars of a an eight-car was stopped by a group of three, but possibly up to six, armed men while on its way from Jalalabad to Kabul.

They said the people in the first two cars were dragged out. The driver and translator said they begged for their lives and were allowed to leave.

The translator said the journalists were taken out of view behind a large stone. He said he heard firing and "that's when we ran away from that place."

The driver and translator met the six remaining cars, which were traveling at some distance behind. They turned around and went back to Jalalabad.

The incident is believed to have occurred near Kace Aztzikhan, about halfway between Kabul and Jalalabad.

The convoy was traveling without the customary armed guard. Hazarit Ali, the chief of law and order in Jalalabad, said he was sending 20 armed men to the area.

The area where the incident occurred is considered to be a wild region under no one's control.

*Why would journalists be traveling in a war zone without armed guards? It boggles my mind!*