Journalist beaten by Taliban loses eardrum, vision
One of the journalists who was beaten by Taliban forces nearly two weeks ago has lost an eardrum and nearly half of his vision in his left eye, local reports say.
Nemat Naqdi, an Etilaat Roz journalist, was beaten after covering women’s protests following the Taliban’s defeat of government forces and subsequent takeover of Afghanistan. Images of his bruised and beaten body raised global concern.
According to The New York Times’ Afghanistan correspondent Sharif Hassan, citing Zaki Daryabi, the newspaper’s publisher, Naqdi has reportedly damaged one of his eardrums beyond repair and lost 40 percent of the vision in his left eye.
Naqdi and his colleague, reporter Taqi Daryabi, had been assigned to cover a small protest in front of a police station by Kabul women demanding the right to work and access to education.
Naqdi said he was accosted by a Taliban fighter as soon as he started taking pictures.
"They told me 'you cannot film'," he said.
"They arrested all those who were filming and took their phones," he told AFP at the time.
He and his colleague were later taken into the police station and beaten, with one Taliban fighter telling them they were “lucky” they weren’t beheaded.
The Taliban has yet to respond to repeated media requests on the incident, though the group has repeatedly previously vowed to uphold press freedom.
However, despite the promises, journalists have continued to be harassed while covering protests across the country.
In recent days, dozens of journalists have reported being beaten, detained or prevented from covering demonstrations that have sprouted nationwide in a show of resistance deemed to be unthinkable under the Taliban's last rule in the 1990s.
Public image vs Afghan reality
Despite a PR campaign insisting that the new Taliban has learned lessons and would not return to violence and restriction on women, as seen with the group's predecessors, reality on the ground has continued to unfold.
The Islamic fundamentalists have tightened their control of women's freedoms just one month after seizing power and vowing to take a softer approach.
The Taliban has now announced its interim government, listing a number of its own members and loyalists among the names. So far, there have been no women named in the new government.
The acting mayor of the capital Kabul has said any municipal jobs currently held by women would be filled by men.
That came after the education ministry ordered male teachers and students back to secondary school over the weekend, but made no mention of the country's millions of women educators and female pupils.
The Taliban has also appeared to shut down the former government's ministry of women's affairs and replaced it with one that earned notoriety during its first stint in power for enforcing religious doctrine.
While the country's new rulers have not issued a formal policy outright banning women from working, directives by individual officials have amounted to their exclusion from the workplace.