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Last Updated: Friday, 10 September, 2004, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
US sorry for holding BBC reporter
By Andrew North
BBC correspondent in Kabul

A US soldier is on guard near Bagram airbase
Mr Sadat says US soldiers kept him in a windowless cell at Bagram
The US military in Afghanistan has apologised for detaining a BBC World Service reporter and interrogating him at its Bagram air base near Kabul.

Kamal Sadat, an Afghan who also worked for Reuters, was taken from his home in eastern Afghanistan by US soldiers late on Wednesday.

The US military said it had received information he was a threat, but officials released him early on Friday.

The US holds hundreds of alleged terror suspects without charge at Bagram.

Mr Sadat is a well-known reporter in Afghanistan for the BBC's Pashto and Dari language services.

Based in the province of Khost near the Afghan-Pakistan border, he has worked for the corporation for almost two years.

'Misunderstanding'

Late on Wednesday night, he said, US soldiers burst into his home, breaking down the door.

Weapons were pointed at members of his family.

When the Americans asked for him he said he told them he was a BBC journalist and showed his identity card and another issued by Reuters.

But after searching the house and removing equipment and several notebooks, soldiers took Mr Sadat to a nearby US base.

There, he says, he was blindfolded and put on an aircraft, but not told where he was going or why.

On Thursday, the US military confirmed to the BBC in Kabul that Mr Sadat was being held at Bagram.

Speaking after his release, the reporter said he was never told where he was.

He said he was kept in a small, windowless cell, blindfolded most of the time and interrogated by an American official about his work.

Late on Thursday night, the US military told the BBC that Mr Sadat's detention was the result of a misunderstanding and in a statement apologised to the reporter and his family.

The BBC says it is very concerned about the incident and is making representations to the US military authorities in Afghanistan and Washington.


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