Four journalists detained by Taliban in various provinces, confirm sources

A media organization in Nangarhar. File photo.

Quoting sources, Afghanistan Journalists Center said in a statement that Haseeb Hassah, a local journalist in Kunduz, was arrested by the Taliban on Friday morning.

Sources reveal that on Thursday, the Taliban detained two journalists in Nangarhar province and another journalist in Paktia province.

Over the past week, the Taliban has been detained at least five journalists in various provinces.

The center said that beyond these instances, an additional count of four journalists and media personnel are presently held in Taliban custody.

In Nangarhar province in the eastern part of Afghanistan, Taliban members entered the premises of Killid Radio on Thursday, apprehending two individuals, including Faqir Mohammad Faqirzai, the network’s head, and Jan Agha Saleh, a reporter affiliated with the outlet, two sources from the province said.

Simultaneously, in a different occurrence, Habib Sarab, a reporter associated with Ariana News in Paktia province, was detained by Taliban intelligence operatives on the same day, a source from Paktia said.

This comes as on July 31, a group of 10 to 15 Taliban members “forcibly” entered the local office of Hamesha Bahar Radio and TV network in Nangarhar province.

According to Atta Khan Stanekzai, the head of Hamesha Bahar Radio and TV network in Nangarhar, the Taliban members “verbally abused” employees and attendees of a journalism class, which included women. The incident raised concerns about the safety and rights of media workers and female participants in such educational programs.

Hamisha Bahar halted its activities following the incident.

These incidents unfold against the backdrop of a recent report by Reporters Without Borders, released today. The report highlights a distressing trend wherein over the past two years, over two-thirds of Afghanistan’s journalist community, amounting to nearly 12,000 professionals, have relinquished their roles.

The organization also underscores the ongoing pressure that the Taliban exerts on the media landscape in Afghanistan. The report pinpoints a disconcerting statistic: over 80% of women journalists have been compelled to exit their professions since the pivotal date of August 15, 2021.