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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Taliban threats to Afghan journalists are growing


As the US and other countries accelerate efforts to get Afghan allies out of the country, Afghan journalists employed by foreign news organisations are facing a more perilous route to safety from the Taliban, and some have been killed. Despite assurances of amnesty by the regime, a growing number of reports indicate that Taliban are searching for Afghan reporters and in some cases targeting them or members of their families.
The German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Thursday that Taliban soldiers who were searching for one of their reporters had killed one member of his family and severely injured another. “The Taliban are obviously conducting organised searches for journalists in Kabul and provinces,” the director of Deutsche Welle, Peter Limbourg, said in a statement. “Time is running out.” The broadcaster, along with several other leading German media outlets, urged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to help them secure passage out of Afghanistan for its employees and their families. Last week, Amdullah Hamdard, 33, who translated for US Special Forces and then worked with Die Zeit newspaper, was murdered by Taliban fighters in Jalalabad, the paper reported. In recent days, the publishers of New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post banded together on evacuation efforts for staff members and their families. The publishers called on the Biden administration to help facilitate the passage of their Afghan colleagues.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban’s chief spokesman, told a gathering of reporters on Tuesday that media outlets “can continue to be free and independent.” But on Thursday, Taliban fighters beat two Afghan journalists while violently dispersing a protest in Jalalabad. The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based watchdog group, noted other attacks against journalists, including the fatal shooting on August 9 of a radio station manager in Kabul, and the kidnapping of a reporter in Helmand Province. Afghan press freedom groups blamed the Taliban for both incidents. An American journalist, Wesley Morgan, tweeted this week that the Taliban had searched the house of an Afghan interpreter he worked with.





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