Moscow — Three Western correspondents in Afghanistan -- Richard Balmforth of Reuters, Elizabeth Thurgood of the Guardian, and Marcus Eliason of the Associated Press -- failed to return to their hotel after a drive northward out of Kabul on Friday. A telegram received late Saturday night by the Reuter office in Moscow from another Reuter correspondent in Kabul said they had not reappeared by Saturday afternoon. There was no way of checking whether they had since returned. Telephone calls from the outside world to the Kabul Intercontinental Hotel, where they were staying, have not been put through since mid-January.
Over the past month, the Soviet forces have occasionally detained television cameramen and news photographers for periods of up to four or five hours, but they have regularly sent other journalists back to Kabul without holding them.