Afghanistan: two journalists were brutally beaten by the Taliban

Two journalists from one of the main Afghan dailies reported being detained and brutally beaten by Taliban fighters while covering a protest in Kabul. Hours later the recently appointed Minister of the Interior, Sirajuddin Haqqani, released his first decree: protests must have prior permission from the Ministry of Justice.

“I thought they killed me”

Two reporters from the daily Etilaat Roz (“Information Day) were detained and brutally attacked by the insurgents. The photographer Taqi Daryabi, 22 years old, and the cameraman Nematullah Naqdi, 28, was covering a women’s demonstration in front of a police station located in the western part of the Afghan capital, when they were detained by fighters who have patrolled Kabul since the capital was captured on August 15. “They told me it was totally forbidden to film. They detained everyone who recorded, they took the phones“, said Nematullah who was covering a demonstration in which dozens of women participated to defend their right to study and work in the Central Asian country. The insurgents tried to take the camera from Nematullah, who at that moment managed to escape and hand over his equipment One of the protesters was working, however, shortly after the combatants caught him and took him to a police station.

Once at the police station, Nematullah was taken to an empty room where the brutal beating began. “They tied my hands behind my back, threw me on the ground and beat me with sticks, cables and pipes. With everything they could find“He said.” He screamed, he kept saying he was a journalist, but they didn’t care. They didn’t care. They kicked me in the head, they destroyed my back … It lasted about 10 or 15 minutes. I thought they were killing me“, remember.

The cameraman was then taken to a cell where about 15 people were also detained, including his partner Taqi, whom he found with a bloody head and in shock. “We were lying on the ground, everything hurt so much that I couldn’t move”said Taqi. Four hours later the Taliban returned their cell phones and released them amid insults. According to the signal Al Jazeera, two other journalists of the morning Etilaat Roz , Aber Shaygan and Luftali Sultani, and the newspaper editor, Kadhim Karimi, went to the police station to find out the whereabouts of their two reporters, but upon arrival they were attacked by the insurgents, who also confiscated their belongings, including their cell phones.

“Karimi could barely finish a sentence when one of the Taliban slapped her and told her to get lost”Shaygan said he also said that as soon as they presented themselves as journalists, the Taliban began to treat them with contempt. The three men were taken to the cell where they heard the screams and cries of their two colleagues who had been arrested at the demonstration and that at that time they were in separate rooms, said the journalist from Etilaat Roz.

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“They beat them so much that they couldn’t walk. They hit them with weapons, they kicked them, they whipped them with cables, they slapped them.”Shaygan told Al Jazeera. The reporter assured that they not only detained journalists, He also saw how the Taliban guards took one of the protesters who had been heavily attacked. “He could barely walk, another of the detainees had to help him up,” he added. The director of the newspaper Etilaat Roz, Zaki Daryabi, asked all the media to come together to denounce the violence committed against press workers. “The official speech has nothing to do with the reality we see on the streets”, he claimed.

Hours later, the journalists were released with a warning from the fighters. “What these protesters were doing is illegal and by covering this kind of thing you also broke the law. This time we let them go, but the next time they won’t come out so easily. “Shaygan told Qatari television. An Afghan journalist who spoke on condition of anonymity to the British newspaper The Guardian, assured that there is a great difference between the Taliban in the media and the Taliban in the street. “The Taliban on the ground beat journalists in Kabul and elsewhere … I think they ended the freedoms of journalism in Afghanistan,” he told the newspaper.

Prohibition of protest

Later, the Taliban government issued a decree by which the demonstrations must be approved by the Ministry of Justice at least 24 hours before taking place. They also banned the protests “until further notice” and They asked the media not to cover the demonstrations or publish anything about it.

While the director of the Committee to Protect Journalists In Asia, Steven Butler lamented that the Taliban’s promises to respect independent media were not kept. “We urge the Taliban to keep those previous promises, to stop hitting and detain reporters doing their job, since allow the media to work freely without fear of retaliationButler claimed.

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