The Taliban arrested journalists or drove them away after firing gunshots to disperse a rally against Pakistan’s interference in the country, according to various Afghan media outlets. Later, the news agencies reported that a about a dozen scribes had been released by the insurgent group, but not before mistreatment.
The protest began outside the Pakistan Embassy in the Afghan capital to denounce what the demonstrators allege as Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan, especially Islamabad’s alleged support for the latest Taliban offensive that routed anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir province. Posts on social media demanded the release of the arrested reporters.
Here’s what we know about the situation so far:
Punished by Taliban: An Afghan journalist who was among those detained and who was later freed told The Associated Press he was punished by the Taliban. “They made me rub my nose on the ground and apologize for covering the protest,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fears for his safety. “Journalism is Afghanistan is getting harder,” he added.
TOLO News Cameraman Among Those Arrested: Afghanistan’s TOLOnews TV channel said its cameraman Wahid Ahmadi was among those arrested. The news agency later reported that Ahmadi was released after being detained by Taliban forces for about three hours. The Taliban returned his camera to Ahmadi along with its pictures, it said. Lotfullah Najafizada, head of the channel, had appealed to the terrorist group to release him. “Waheed Ahmady…has covered many frontlines over the years,” Mr Najafizada had said in a tweet. He later said Ahmady along with a dozen other journalists had been released, but that some equipment was yet to be found.
Ariana News Scribes Arrested: Bais Hayat, a journalist with Ariana News, another important Afghan news TV network, also stated that his colleague Sami Jahesh and cameraman Samim had been detained by the Taliban while covering today’s rallies. “We have been out of contact with them for over two hours and have no idea what their position is,” Hayat said in a tweet. He later said his colleagues in Kabul and Balkh had been released by Taliban.
Kicked, Told to Go Away: An Afghan journalist covering the demonstration told AFP his press ID and camera were confiscated by the Taliban. “I was kicked and told to go away,” he said.
Family Member of Deutsche Welle Journo Killed Earlier: Since taking control of Afghanistan last month, there have been reports of Taliban beating and threatening journalists. In one known case, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Taliban fighters going door to door in a hunt for one of its journalists shot and killed a member of his family and seriously injured another.
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