Taliban Continue Arresting, Harassing Afghan Journalists: Report

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Wednesday called on the Taliban to cease its escalating persecution and beating of Afghan journalists and media workers.

IFJ said that the Taliban forces beaten and abducted two Afghan journalists in the latest of a series of attacks to press freedom in Afghanistan, and condemned the continued violence against journalists in strong terms.

Moheb Jalili, a presenter for independent station 1 TV and former head of Ariana News, was abducted and tortured by the Taliban Intelligence Service in Kabul’s District 15 on April 16, according to IFJ.

In an interview with Hasht-e-Subh, an independent newspaper in Afghanistan, Jalili claimed that Taliban officials gave no clear reason for his detention.

According to the Afghanistan Journalists Center, Jalili was returning home on Saturday night when Taliban Intelligence officers stopped his car and arrested him, accusing the journalist of “reporting false news”.

On the day of Jalili’s arrest, Jamshid Ahamad Ahmadi, manager of Rasa TV, was also shot and wounded by unidentified assailants in Kabul. IFJ said that the reason for the attack still remained unclear.

In a similar incident, Reza Shahir, a reporter for Kabul radio and television network Rah-e-Farda, was beaten and arrested by Taliban militants on April 19 while attempting to cover a bombing at the Abdul Rahim Shahid school in western Kabul, the IFJ said.

According to Shahir, Taliban forces accused him and his colleague of being “complicit in organizing the attack”, seizing his camera and mobile phone.

The IFJ said that the journalist was held inside a room where he was severely beaten before his eventual release two hours later.

The arrests of Jalili and Shahir are the latest attacks on journalists by Taliban militants in Afghanistan. On March 17, Taliban officers arrested TOLONews employees Bahram Aman, Khaplwak Sapai, and Nafay Khaleeq at the news outlet’s headquarters in Kabul.

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