Under Taliban, journalists are detained and tortured for covering protests

More than 14 journalists were detained this week and 9 of them were subjected to custodial violence

Naqdi and his colleague, Taqi Daryabi, recounted how they were taken to a district police station and lashed with whips, beaten with electric cables and batons

Leave people, it seems even journalists are not safe in Taliban’s Afghanistan. In a number of interviews by the BBC, many reporters and correspondents from Afghanistan have recounted their accounts of torture by the Taliban for reporting protests in Kabul.

“One of the Taliban put his foot on my head and crushed my face against the concrete,” said Nematullah Naqdi, a photojournalist for the Etilaatroz newspaper, explaining in details how the militants tried to snatch his camera when he was taking pictures of a protest march in Kabul.

Naqdi was one of the two journalists arrested by Taliban officials in Kabul. Later the photographs of Naqdi and his colleague, Taqi Daryabi, showing bruises all over their bodies, went viral on social media.

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Naqdi and Daryabi recounted how they were taken to a district police station and lashed with whips, beaten with electric cables and batons. They were later released by the Taliban without any explanation.

Also read: Taliban beat up Afghan journalists for covering women’s protest

Daryabi told the BBC that when he was being handcuffed by the militants, even the thought of defending himself scared him since he figured it would only cause his attackers to torture him more. “Eight of them came and they started beating me…Using sticks, police sticks, rubber – whatever they had in their hands. The scar on my face is from shoes where they kicked me in the face,” he said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an American non-profit promoting press freedom and defending the rights of journalists worldwide, said in a statement that more than 14 journalists, including Naqdi and Daryabi, were detained and later released by the Taliban this week. Citing eyewitness reports and people familiar with the incident, the non-profit organisation said that at least nine of these journalists were subjected to custodial violence.

“While in custody, the fighters pointed their guns at the journalist’s head, and threatened that if he published a report about the Taliban, they would shoot him in the head, he said. The journalist was released approximately two hours later, he said, adding that he was not beaten and did not sustain any physical injuries, but was left psychologically shaken,” said a CPJ report.

Even though the Taliban had promised be more ‘moderate’ this time, multiple reports of violence in the last week alone, and announcement of a hardliner regime suggest otherwise.

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