Taliban ban and harass foreign journalist: Watchdog

Photo: Stefanie Glinski’s Twitter account.

In the latest crackdown on international media in Afghanistan, foreign journalist and photographer Stefanie Glinski has been barred from entering the country after being targeted by the Taliban for her critical reporting.

According to a statement issued by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the organization has condemned the harassment and intimidation against Glinski and urged the Taliban to uphold press freedom and cease its persecution of Afghan journalists.

Glinski spent four years in Afghanistan reporting for several news outlets including The Guardian and Foreign Policy.

According to her, she left Kabul in July but began to fear for her safety following the recent investigation of her work by members of the Taliban.

In a statement on social media, the journalist described how the Taliban raised concerns regarding an article she published in Foreign Policy titled ‘Taliban wage war over coal in northern Afghanistan’, and social posts Glinski wrote about the Taliban in Pakistan.

Glinski said she faced harassment and intimidation by Taliban officials via WhatsApp, with the Taliban “bombarding” her with questions regarding the story and its content and demanding she disclose her sources.

The Taliban also threatened the cancellation of visas and non-entry to Afghanistan for all foreign journalists writing journalistic material the Taliban deemed unsubstantiated.

“They told me that the government [Taliban] will be holding all sides accountable from now onwards, and anyone found breaking the law or unable to substantiate reports […] will be dealt with according to the law, which includes cancellation of visas an non-entry to Afghanistan,” she said on social media.

“I strongly believe that sharing detailed information with the Taliban – who detain and beat journalists for reporting, and during whose reign many former government employees have gone missing – is not just inappropriate, but dangerous,” she added.

Since arriving in Kabul in 2018, Glinski has reported extensively on Afghanistan’s ongoing humanitarian crisis and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.

The status of the Taliban investigation into her reporting is currently unknown.

In recent months, Taliban militants have targeted both local and foreign journalists for their news coverage.

In August, WION news correspondent Anas Mallick was abducted and assaulted by Taliban authorities. In July, Australian journalist Lynne O’Donnell was intimidated and forced to publicly retract articles that were critical of the Taliban.

The IFJ said: “The continuing harassment and intimidation of both local and foreign journalists and media workers in Afghanistan is a grave violation of press freedom.

“The Taliban must allow all journalists to work independently without fear of reprisal. The IFJ condemns the targeting of Stefanie Glinski for her critical reporting and demands the Taliban cease its persecution of Afghanistan’s media.”

Taliban immediately did not comment on the matter.