Two Afghan journalists were detained and beaten by the Taliban for covering a protest in Kabul, AFP reported on Thursday, 9 September.
The Taliban picked up the journalists from the protest on Wednesday, 8 September, and took them to a police station in Kabul. The Taliban accused them of organising the rally and later beat them with batons, electrical cables, and whips, leaving them with multiple wounds and bruises.
“One of the Taliban put his foot on my head, crushed my face against the concrete. They kicked me in the head... I thought they were going to kill me,” photographer Nematullah Naqdi was quoted as saying by the AFP.
Naqdi and his colleague Taqi Daryabi, a reporter for Etilaat Roz (Information Daily) and were covering a women’s protest for the right to work and education in front of a police station.
The Taliban, on Wednesday night, had declared all demonstrations illegal unless the justice ministry had granted permission to hold them.
Naqdi said as soon as he started taking pictures, a Taliban fighter confronted him and told him not to film. Then, the Taliban men arrested all those filming and took away their phones, he added.
He said the Taliban tried to take his camera, but he gave it to someone in the crowd. Then, three Taliban fighters caught him and took him to a police station where they beat him, reported AFP.
Naqdi said the Taliban accused him of organising the rally and insulted and kicked him repeatedly. When he asked why they were beating him, he was told, “You are lucky you weren’t beheaded.”
The Taliban then took him to a crowded cell where he found his colleague, who had been beaten as well.
“We were in so much pain that we couldn’t move,” Daryabi was quoted as saying by AFP.
The Taliban later released the two, insulting them while doing so, without offering an explanation.
“They see us as enemies,” Taqi said.
The Taliban, who seized power on 15 August, had said they would uphold press freedom in line with the Islamic law and promised a more tolerant rule. However, that has not been the case.
Earlier this week on Tuesday, 7 September, the Taliban had arrested several journalists for covering the protests against Pakistan’s alleged involvement in Afghanistan’s affairs.
According to AFP, the Taliban has been harassing local Afghan journalists more than the foreign media.
“This official speech is totally different from the reality that can be observed on the ground,” Zaki Daryabi, chief of the Etilaat Roz newspaper, told AFP.
(With inputs from AFP)