Taliban assault Afghan journalists reporting unemployment

Taliban assault Afghan journalists who recorded footage of jobless in Kabul
2 min read
26 August, 2021
The incident appears at odds with TOLO's acquiescence to the Taliban with music and soap operas taken off broadcasting schedules.
Ahmadulah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, said that Taliban would investigate the incident to determine “why” it happened [AFP/Getty]

Taliban militants have assaulted two journalists working for Afghanistan's top private broadcaster amid mounting concerns over the hardline movement's clampdown on press freedoms.

Ziar Yaad, a reporter for TOLO news, and his colleague, cameraman Baes Majidi, were recording footage of jobless Afghans in the Shahr-e-Naw district - the city's main commercial hub - for a news segment on rising unemployment in Afghanistan.

Yaad said that the Taliban approached him as they filmed the men in one of Kabul's main squares and seized his mobile phone and Majidi's camera, despite the pair presenting their reporter badges.

"We showed our reporter badges but they came and slapped us and beat us with their guns. They took my mobile and our work equipment with them," Yaad said in a statement reported by TOLO.

The incident is at odds TOLO's acquiescence to the Taliban, with a number of officials from the movement interviewed on-air. Music and soap operas have also been absent from broadcasting schedules.

Saad Mohseni, the CEO of Moby Group, TOLO's owners, was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The New Arab.

Ahmadulah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban's cultural commission, said that the Taliban would investigate the incident to determine "why" it happened.

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Following the Taliban takeover of Kabul, TOLO was among the first broadcasters to resume broadcasting with women journalists appearing on screen.

It came after representatives of the group entered TOLO's offices, seizing all government-issued weapons and offering assurances that the compound would be kept safe.

At the time, Mohseni confirmed to The New Arab that the decision to bring women journalists back on-screen was not the result of specific instructions from the Taliban.

Afghan media workers are among the tens of thousands of Afghans fleeing the country fearing Taliban reprisals for their past work, as part of one of the largest evacuation airlifts in US history.