22nd October 2021

By Asra Haque

Local and foreign media journalists were once again assailed by Taliban fighters during a women’s protest rally in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Thursday, October 21.

A small group of women had been allowed by the Taliban authorities to hold a demonstration for an hour, during which organizers and participants demanded for their right to work and education, and decried rising hunger. However, journalists reporting on the rally were attacked and chased away by Taliban fighters.

Bülent Kılıç, a photographer for French news agency Agence France-Presse, told foreign media that he had photographed one fighter punching a local yet-unidentified journalist before the same attacker attacked him with the butt of his rifle and kicked his back, while another punched him.

Besides Kılıç, at least two other journalists were assaulted and chased away by armed Taliban fighters.

On September 8, reports emerged of the Taliban detaining and torturing two journalists of the daily Etilaat Roz who were covering a protest organized by Hazara women demanding for their right to work and education.

Reporter Taqi Daryabi told international news agencies that he along with several others were arrested for documenting the demonstration. He stated he was taken to a police station where he was beaten with batons and whipped with cables in a cell till he fell unconscious.

His colleague, photographer Nematullah Naqdi, claimed that one Taliban fighter tried snatching away his camera and repeatedly stomped on his head. He too was later taken to the same cell as Daryabi and tortured. The two were later released without any explanation or medical aid.

The Taliban regime has time and again reiterated its commitment to upholding human rights in Afghanistan to the international community, including guaranteeing the freedom of press and women’s rights. However, since their takeover, they have yet to allow classes for girls in seventh grade and above, and have barred women from working in a number of jobs. Furthermore, a number of Afghan journalists have been forced to flee or seek other modes of employment due to threats and violence.


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