Taliban releases three journalists after six days in detention

KHOST, Afghanistan — Three journalists detained by the Taliban in Khost province were released Sunday afternoon after six days in custody.

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) reported that Wahidullah Masoum from Iqra radio, Ismail Sadat from Naaz radio, and Ehsanullah Tasal from Voice of the People radio were freed around 2 p.m. local time.

The journalists had been held on charges of broadcasting music and facilitating contact with women in their programs, sparking significant outcry from media support organizations. Both Reporters Without Borders and the Committee to Protect Journalists had demanded their immediate release.

According to reports, a meeting involving the Taliban’s local departments of vice and virtue, information and culture, intelligence and security, along with journalists, took place Sunday at the governor’s office in Khost. The head of the provincial department of vice and virtue expressed dissatisfaction with how news of the arrest had spread in the media, stating that the journalists were released unconditionally but warning media outlets to adhere to the law or face court proceedings.

This happens as dozens of media organizations have been forced to cease operations due to restrictions imposed by the Taliban over the past nearly three years.