AFGHANISTAN: Two Afghan journalists were reportedly beaten in police custody this week. The journalists were covering a protest by Kabul women where they were detained by the Taliban.
Meanwhile, an acting Taliban minister said that any attack on journalists would be investigated. The minister who was named in his post during the new government formation has declined to be identified.
Zaki Daryabi, founder and editor-in-chief of the Etilaat Roz newspaper, shared images on social media of two male journalists, one with large, red welts across his lower back and legs and the other with similar marks on his shoulder and arm.
Both journalists’ faces were also bruised and cut in the pictures. Reuters later verified the pictures.
Daryabi said that the beatings sent a chilling message to the media in Afghanistan.
The Taliban, who invaded the capital Kabul on Aug 15 now rule Afghanistan again after fighting a 20-year insurgency against foreign and Afghan forces. The insurgency group has vowed to allow the journalists to operate and respect people’s human rights.
However, incidents of abuse on journalists and other people since they came to power have raised doubts among some Afghans. In 1996-2001 when the Taliban ruled the country, there were no independent media. Under the first Taliban rule, women were banned from work and education. But, the group has said in recent weeks that women will be allowed to work and attend a university within the parameters of Islamic law.
Though a new Taliban government could be sworn in this week, India and other major countries are unlikely to give it early recognition if the trend of discussions at a conference of 20 Foreign Ministers that ended late on Wednesday night is any indication.
The five major expectations from the Taliban were set out by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and reiterated by the co-convener of the conference Heiko Mass.