A high-profile Italian journalist and his two Afghan translators have been seized by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. Daniele Mastrogiacomo, 52, is a correspondent for the Rome-based daily La Repubblica. All three men have been accused of spying on behalf of British forces in Helmand province.
A Taliban spokesman said they were detained in one of the main opium producing districts after they had entered without permission.
Reports of the abduction emerged as NATO and Afghan forces launched their biggest offensive yet against rebel fighters and drug warlords in southern Afghanistan. It is centred on Helmand Province, a known Taliban stronghold. The region is recognised as one of the most dangerous in the war-torn country.