U.S. official describes arrests of journalists in Afghanistan as ‘disheartening’


On World Press Freedom Day, the U.S. mission spokesman for Afghanistan, Mario Crifo, expressed concern over the ambiguous regulatory environment for media in the country, noting that access to information about the Taliban’s activities has been severely limited.

Crifo described the recent increase in harassment and detention of journalists as “disheartening.” He also highlighted a significant decline in the number of women journalists and their representation in Afghan media. “Opportunities for women to attain the education necessary to be contributors and leaders in the media sector have declined,” Crifo said in a statement.

“Like many Afghans and partners in the international community, I witness a slow erosion of the talent, independence, diversity, and the information infrastructure that has been the source of Afghan media’s strength and success,” Crifo remarked. He praised the professionalism of the Afghan press corps, which he described as among the best in the world.

“At its height, Afghan media had become a robust and respected profession, representing a diverse array of perspectives and providing critically important access to information for the Afghan people,” the statement read.

However, Crifo noted that the situation for journalism in Afghanistan today has drastically changed, citing the restrictions imposed by the Taliban on media in the country.