AFGHANISTAN. Kabul: In a recent statement, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Taliban of “deliberately targeting journalists and other media workers, including women,” in Afghanistan, saying that such attacks and threats have increased sharply since the start of the intra-Afghan talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha on 12 September 2020.
The Watchdog believes that “the Taliban commanders and fighters have engaged in a series of threats, intimidation, and violence against members of the media in areas where the Taliban have huge influence and presence, as well as in Kabul.”
“Women journalists, especially those appearing on television and radio, face particular threats,” the watchdog said, addressing the recent wave of attacks on Afghan female media workers. Based on data compiled by Transcontinental Times, 4 female media workers were assassinated in Nangarhar province, a city in eastern Afghanistan, where women and appearance in public are Taboo and against the norms of traditional Afghan life.
Malala Mainwand, a female media worker was killed in November 2020, for which later ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Three other female media workers also were gunned down while going home in the center of Jalalabad city of Nangarhar province this last week, but no group including the Taliban has claimed credit.
Taliban officials at their political office in Doha, Qatar, have continuously, denied that their forces threaten the media and say that they require only that journalists respect Islamic values, according to Hunan Rights Watch.
The wave of targeted killings of journalists and other civil groups, raged after the intra-Afghan talks began in Doha. 11 journalists were killed in 2020, and according to RSF (Reporters Without Borders), Afghanistan stands among the five deadliest countries in the world with the highest number of violence against media workers. Meanwhile, the Taliban has claimed no responsibility for any of the attacks on journalists.