MONTREAL (AP) _ The Taliban detained a Canadian free-lance reporter in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, according to the news editor of a newspaper for which he writes.

Matthew Hays of the weekly Montreal Mirror said reporter Ken Hechtman was taken prisoner near Kandahar, the last stronghold of the Islamic militia. Hays said correspondents from USA Today and the London-based Guardian newspaper informed the Mirror of Hechtman's detention.

``Someone received a note from him in prison. He's being held in chains,'' Hays said. ``We don't know if anyone else has been taken prisoner from the press but obviously we're very alarmed and very concerned about this.''

According to Hays, the 32-year-old Hechtman has been in the region since early October. His most recent report for the Mirror, from Peshawar, Pakistan, appeared in the Nov. 22 edition. A Nov. 15 article was from Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan.

Francois Bugingo of Journalists Without Borders told Canada's RDI French-language television news network that Hechtman was ``tied down to the ground and apparently he's been brutalized at least a couple of times.''

``We're looking for a contact in order to negotiate his release,'' Bugingo said.

The Guardian said its reporter, Jonathan Steele, said a witness, Mohammed Zai, told him Hechtman was kidnapped in the border town of Spinboldak, but it was not clear by whom.

The newspaper said Hechtman is believed held in a windowless room, chained hand and foot. According to Steele, Zai said Hechtman was guarded by about 11 armed men. They wanted money and threatened to kill him, Zai told Steele.