Taliban accused of torturing journalists for covering protests
Taliban fighters have been accused of beating and detaining journalists for covering protests in the Afghan capital Kabul, raising questions over the group’s promises on media freedom.
Two reporters for the Etilaatroz newspaper – Taqi Daryabi and Nematullah Naqdi – were detained by the Taliban while covering a women’s protest in the west of Kabul on Wednesday morning.
Two other journalists from the newspaper – Aber Shaygan and Lutfali Sultani – rushed to the police station along with the newspaper editor, Kadhim Karimi, to inquire about the whereabouts of their colleagues.
But the moment they reached the police station, they say, Taliban fighters pushed and slapped them and confiscated all their belongings, including mobile phones.
“Karimi barely finished his sentence, when one of the Taliban slapped him and told him to get lost,” Shaygan told Al Jazeera, adding that as soon as they introduced themselves as journalists, the Taliban treated them with disdain.
Torture in holding cell
The three men were taken into a small holding cell with 15 people in it, two of whom were reporters with Reuters and Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, Shaygan said.
It was while they were in holding that the three heard reports of the disturbing abuse suffered by Daryabi, 22, and Naqdi, 28, who were being held in separate rooms.
“We could hear their screams and cries through the walls,” the cellmates said of the piercing cries. “The cellmates had even heard the sounds of women crying from pain.”
“They were beaten so bad, they couldn’t walk. They were hit with guns, they were kicked, they were whipped with cables, they were slapped,” Shaygan said.
He said the violence was so brutal that Naqdi and Daryabi had lost consciousness from the pain.
But it was not just journalists who seemed to meet this fate. Shaygan said a male protester was escorted into their cell by Taliban guards, clearly looking as if he too had been abused.
“He could barely walk, one of the other cellmates had to get up and help him in,” said Shaygan.