Taliban arrest 5 journalists,
beat after covering protests

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KABUL:  A day after forming the new caretaker government, the Taliban on Wednesday arrested five journalists of Etilaatroz, a daily newspaper, in Kabul.

The information of the arrest was shared by the Editor-in-Chief of the Etilaatroz, Zaki Daryabi.

“Five journalists from Etilaatroz, a daily newspaper in Kabul, have been arrested by Taliban, Zaki Daryabi, the editor in chief of the newspaper, said today,” tweeted Tolo News.

Earlier, the Taliban had promised international organisations that it will respect the rights of journalists and freedom of expression.

In this picture taken on September 8, Afghan newspaper Etilaatroz journalists Neamat Naqdi (L) and Taqi Daryabi show their wounds in their office in Kabul after being released from Taliban custody.

A group of UN human rights experts had called on all countries to provide urgent protection to Afghan journalists and media workers who fear for their lives and face persecution in the war-torn country.

“Journalists and media workers, in particular women, are facing heightened risks since the Taliban’s political takeover of Afghanistan,” United Nations Human Rights Special Procedures quoted UN experts as saying.

Meanwhile, the Taliban appointed several hardliners in its new government who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.

The list announced by chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was dominated by members of the group’s old guard. Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund has been appointed Prime Minister with two deputies Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Molavi Abdul Salam Hanafi.

Afghan newspaper Etilaatroz journalists Neamat Naqdi (L) and Taqi Daryabi show their wounds

Two Afghan journalists were left with ugly welts and bruises after being beaten and detained for hours by Taliban enforcers for covering a protest in the Afghan capital.

The pair were picked up at a demonstration on Wednesday and taken to a police station in the capital, where they say they were punched and beaten with batons, electrical cables and whips after being accused of organising the protest.

“One of the Taliban put his foot on my head, crushed my face against the concrete. They kicked me in the head […] I thought they were going to kill me,” photographer Nematullah Naqdi told AFP.

Taliban officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment from AFP.

Despite promises of a more inclusive regime, the Taliban have moved to snuff out mushrooming opposition against their rule.

On Wednesday night, they declared demonstrations illegal unless permission had been granted by the justice ministry.

Naqdi and his colleague Taqi Daryabi, a reporter, who both work for Etilaat Roz (Information Daily) had been assigned to cover a small protest in front of a police station in Kabul by women demanding the right to work and education.

Naqdi said he was accosted by a Taliban fighter as soon as he started taking pictures.

“They told me ‘You cannot film’,” he said. “They arrested all those who were filming and took their phones,” he told AFP.

Naqdi said the Taliban tried to grab his camera, but he managed to hand it to someone in the crowd.Three Taliban fighters caught him, however, and took him to the police station where the beatings started.

‘They see us as enemies’

“The Taliban started insulting me, kicking me,” said Naqdi, adding that he was accused of being the organiser of the rally.

He asked why he was being beaten, only to be told: “You are lucky you weren’t beheaded”.

Naqdi was eventually taken to a crowded cell where he found his colleague, Daryabi, who had also been arrested and beaten.

“We were in so much pain that we couldn’t move,” Daryabi said. A few hours later the pair were released without explanation — sent on their way with a string of insults. They see us as enemies,” Taqi said.