Taliban detain, flog, and beat journalists covering protests

Journalists from the Etilaat Roz newspaper, Nemat Naqdi, 28, a video journalist, left, and Taqi Daryabi, 22, video editor, show their wounds Wednesday. They said Taliban fighters tortured and beat them while they were in custody after being arrested while reporting on a women’s rights protest in Kabul, Afghanistan.(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times

Over the last two days, the Taliban detained and later released at least 14 journalists covering protests in Kabul, the capital, against the group, according to various news reports. At least six of these journalists were subject to violence during their arrests or detention.

Some journalists, including those with the BBC, were also prevented from filming the protest Tuesday, according to the BBC.

On Wednesday, Taliban fighters detained Taqi Daryabi and Nematullah Naqdi, a video editor and a video reporter with the daily newspaper Etilaatroz, following their coverage of ongoing protests in Kabul, according to Etilaatroz and the Los Angeles Times. The two journalists were taken to a local police station, where they were separated in two rooms, insulted, and flogged with cables, according to those sources. The Los Angeles Times said the journalists were tortured in custody.

When Etilaatroz’s editor and two other journalists arrived at the station to persuade the Taliban to release them, they were also detained, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Taqi Daryabi’s lower back, upper legs, and face, and Naqdi’s left arm, upper back, upper legs, and face were marked by red lesions after the beatings, as seen in photos posted to Twitter by Etilaatroz and publisher Zaki Daryabi and on the Los Angeles Times’ website. Daryabi appeared to be unable to walk unaided, according to a video posted on Twitter by Zaki Daryabi.

The two received treatment at a hospital, according to a tweet by Etilaatroz.

Zaki Daryabi, Etilaatroz’s publisher, said the three additional Etilaatroz journalists as editor Kadhim Karimi, and reporters Lutfali Sultani and Aber Shaygan.

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 global media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists said.

“The Taliban is quickly proving that earlier promises to allow Afghanistan’s independent media to continue operating freely and safely are worthless,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “We urge the Taliban to live up to those earlier promises, to stop beating and detaining reporters doing their job, and allow the media to work freely without fear of reprisal.”