Afghanistan’s Taliban Release 9 Journalists After Wave of Arrests in August

The Taliban have, over the past few days, released nine journalists who had been detained in Afghanistan since August 11, facing allegations of collaborating with exiled or foreign news organizations, as reported by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Tuesday.

Afghanistan TalibansMedia organizations in Afghanistan are facing systematic persecution, disregarding the country's mass media law, according to RSF. (Photo: U.S. Department of Defense/Lt. j. g. Joe Painter/RELEASED, Flickr, License)These releases follow a significant escalation in the detention of journalists last month, coinciding with the second anniversary of the Taliban's rise to power in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

Since the Taliban came to power, the media landscape in the country has witnessed a distressing and profound decline, with journalists enduring poverty, detention, harassment, and physical assault.

According to the IFJ statement, the Taliban first released Attaullah Omar, a reporter for the Afghan news channel TOLO News; Faqir Mohammad Faqirzai, the head of Afghan Killid Radio; Jan Agha Saleh, a reporter; and Hasib Hassas, a reporter for Salam Watander media organization on August 31.

Subsequently, Mehboob Hakimi, a journalist from Zabul in southern Afghanistan and a representative of the Afghanistan National Journalists Union (ANJU), was freed, and finally, on September 2, Habibullah Sarab, a journalist from Paktia in eastern Afghanistan, and Parviz Sargand, a journalist from Kunar in the northeastern part of the country, were released.

Kandahar-based journalist Waheedur Rahman Afghanmal was detained on August 14 and questioned about his work, before being released on bail the following day. Freelancer Shamsullah Omari was also detained and released on August 24.

Mortaza Behboudi, a French journalist, remains incarcerated in an Afghan prison following his return to Kabul in January 2023.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Afghan Independent Journalists Union (AIJU) have jointly called for the release of all media professionals who are still being held in captivity.