A young French volunteer doctor providing clandestine humanitarian assistance in eastern Afghanistan was reportedly captured by Soviet and Afghan troops during an anti-insurgent sweep last week, Monitor special correspondent Edward Girardet reports.
First announced by Radio Kabul, the communists' apprehension of Dr. Philippe Augoyard of the Paris-based Aide Medicale Internationale (AMI) was confirmed by resistance sources in Peshawar.
According to AMI, one of three French medical organizations operating inside Afghanistan, Dr. Augoyard was part of a three-member team sent to Logar Province , south of Kabul, in September. The two other doctors have apparently been moved to safety by the guerrillas.
For almost three years, French groups have sent relays of medical teams to Afghanistan to provide at least some basic medical relief to the 8 to 10 million Afghans thought to be living outside communist-controlled areas. There are estimated to be 25 French doctors and nurses secretly working in Afghanistan at any one time. Although several French journalists have been captured and released since the December 1979 invasion, this is the first time a doctor has been taken. Within diplomatic and humanitarian circles it is feared that the Soviets may try to make an example of Dr. Augoyard.
The presence of French doctors in the country has provided considerable embarrassment for the Afghan authorities. On their return, teams have furnished detailed accounts of Soviet atrocities, ranging from the bombardment of Afghan villages to the machine-gunning of civilians by government troops.