Taliban beat Afghan Journalists for Covering Women's Protests

Taliban Overthrow: The Taliban also prevented local journalists from covering the protesting ladies, according to the LA Times; foreign correspondents, on the other hand, were just forced to leave the area.

Taliban beat Afghan Journalists for Covering Women's Protests
Taliban beat Afghan Journalists for Covering Women's Protests

Global concerns about the Taliban's capacity to deliver on vows to protect human rights and guarantee press freedom as it creates a new Afghan government have been heightened by disturbing photographs of journalists displaying injuries sustained after being beaten by the Taliban.

At least two such photographs have surfaced in the aftermath of the group's announcement of government, both of which were tweeted by verified Twitter handles, including Marcus Yam (a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times) and Etilaatroz (an Afghan news publication). Mr Yam tweeted photos of two men who were stripped down to their underwear and stood with their backs to the camera. Their backs and legs are covered in welts and bruises that look to be crimson. 

Images tweeted by Etilaatroz show the same two guys - Taqi Daryabi and Nematullah Naqdi - who the website has identified as its staffers, as well as a close-up of their injuries.

Mr Daryabi and Mr Naqdi, a video editor and a reporter, were documenting a protest led by women in the Kart-e-Char neighbourhood of western Kabul when they were abducted by the Taliban, transported to different rooms, and beaten and tortured, according to Etilaatroz. "One of the Taliban stomped on my head with his foot, smashing my face into the concrete. They stomped on my head... They were about to kill me, I thought "Mr Naqdi told the AFP news agency. 

As soon as he began photographing the gathering of women seeking the right to work and education, he was approached by a Taliban warrior, he told AFP.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Taliban also prevented its journalists from photographing the protesting ladies; foreign correspondents, on the other hand, were only forced to leave the area. 
Three other journalists, including the local head of Euronews, a pan-European TV news network based in France, were also kidnapped, according to the LA Times. 

They were later freed uninjured, even though the leader of Euronews had been smacked several times. Several additional journalists were detained while covering the protests, including TOLO News cameraman Waheed Ahmady and Ariana News reporter Sami Jahesh, who was accompanied by cameraman Samim.

More attacks were detailed in a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Another Tolo News reporter, Ziar Yaad Khan, was thought to have been slain by the Taliban last month before it was established that he had been kidnapped and assaulted. Days earlier, the Taliban assassinated a relative of a Deutsche Welle journalist while on the lookout for him. 

The group had previously stated that it would respect press freedom, but its actions yesterday and in recent weeks indicate otherwise. A spokesman for the group has already warned people not to take to the streets in protest, as well as journalists not to cover any protests.

Last week, media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres, or Reporters Without Borders, provided a sharp reminder of the Taliban's impact on the free press, stating that active female journalists in Kabul have decreased to less than 100 since the group seized power, compared to 700 previously. Further concerns have arisen as a result of the new government's composition. 

All top positions were handed to key leaders from the movement and the Haqqani network, the group's most violent branch and one known for devastating attacks. The Taliban had promised an inclusive government that would reflect the ethnic identities that make up the country, but all top positions were handed to key leaders from the movement and the Haqqani network, the group's most violent branch and one known for devastating attacks.

The post of the interior minister - equivalent to the Home Ministry post in India - was given to Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is wanted by the United States FBI. None of the government appointees was woman. The Taliban's first period in power was replete with horrific stories of brute force and disregard for human rights, particularly those of women and children.

The second - a Taliban 2.0 - was supposed to be different.