Sep 9, 2021 - World

Taliban detain, beat journalists covering Kabul protests

Journalists from the Etilaatroz newspaper, Taqi Daryabi, 22, video editor, left, and Nemat Naqdi, 28, a video journalist,

Journalists from the Etilaatroz newspaper, Taqi Daryabi, 22, video editor, left, and Nemat Naqdi, 28, a video journalist, after being detained by the Taliban on Sept. 8, 2021. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times

The Taliban over the last two days have detained and later released at least 14 journalists covering protests in Kabul, according to various news reports and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Why it matters: The journalists' detention undermines the Taliban's vague assurances that they have changed since the tight grip they ruled with in the 1990s, Axios' Dave Lawler reports.

Driving the news: At least six of the journalists experienced violence during their arrest or detention and other journalists, including some from the BBC's team, were prevented from filming protests, per the BBC.

  • The Taliban detained and severely beat two journalists with the daily newspaper Etilaatroz, per the newspaper and the Los Angeles Times.
  • Taliban fighters also surrounded two reporters with the LA Times and lunged at one of the journalists' cameras. A Taliban leader reportedly told the journalists that photographing protests was "illegal," per the LA Times.
  • The Taliban also detained journalists and producers from EuroNews, TOLO news, Afghan Notes and a local broadcasting station, per the CPJ, citing various news reports.

What they're saying: "The Taliban must immediately cease detaining journalists in Afghanistan, end the use of violence against them, and allow the media to operate freely and without fear of reprisal," the CPJ said.

The big picture: After their swift takeover of Afghanistan last month, the Taliban said that girls can go to school, women can work and journalists can operate.

  • Many Afghans remain skeptical of the Taliban's promises — especially amid reports on the ground of revenge killings and women being blocked from work or school, Axios' Zach Basu reports.

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