Even as liberals and journalists hail the Taliban for its “moderate” outlook and for its public relations of holding a “press conference”, the Taliban continues to unleash violence against journalists, intellectuals, non-Muslims.
In the latest attack on journalists, a reporter with TOLO news was brutally attacked by the Taliban in Kabul, the journalist confirmed on Thursday.
Taking to Twitter, TOLO news reporter Ziar Khan Yaad informed that he and his cameraman were beaten by the Taliban in Kabul’s New City while reporting. The journalist added that their cameras, technical equipment and his personal mobile phone were all snatched by the Taliban.
I still don’t know why they behaved like that and suddenly attacked me. The issue has been shared with Taliban leaders; however, the perpetrators have not yet been arrested, which is a serious threat to freedom of expression.— Ziar Khan Yaad (@ziaryaad) August 26, 2021
Ziar Khan Yaad also said the Taliban got out of an armoured Land Cruiser and hit him at gunpoint. Yaad and his cameraman Baes Majidi were filming footage of jobless people and labourers in Haji Yaqoob square in the Shahr-e-Naw area of Kabul city on Wednesday morning when the Taliban attacked them.
“I still don’t know why they behaved like that and suddenly attacked me. The issue has been shared with Taliban leaders; however, the perpetrators have not yet been arrested, which is a serious threat to freedom of expression,” the TOLO News reported said.
Ziar Khan Yaad also clarified that he is still alive, contrary to the reports that the Taliban had killed him in the middle of the road in Kabul when he was reporting on “poverty, unemployment” at Haji Yaqub intersection in the capital. His own organisation the TOLO News had posted a tweet saying that Ziar Khan Yaad was killed in an attack by the Taliban.
After journalist Ziar Yaad’s clarification, the TOLO news has deleted the tweet and edited the report to state that the reporter was attacked and he is still alive.
The media house also reported that the reason for the attack is not known, and the Taliban said that they have ordered a ‘serious’ investigation into the incident.
Earlier, the Taliban had made a surprise visit to Tolo News offices in Kabul amidst its renewed media propaganda to project themselves as “moderate” and a “peaceful” organisation.
Attacks on journalists in Afghanistan continue
Ever since the Taliban took over Kabul from the Afghan forces, there has been increased attacks on journalists, independent intellectuals in the country. Earlier in In July, Danish Siddiqui, an Indian photojournalist working for an international news agency Reuters, was shot dead in Kandahar. Siddiqui had been in Kandahar covering the situation in the region after the US forces pulled out of Afghanistan recently.
Last week, the Taliban fighters had shot and killed a relative of a journalist working with German outlet Deutsche Welle. The Islamists were conducting a house-to-house search for the DW journalist when this incident occurred. Another relative of the journalist was seriously injured in the attack, but others were able to escape.
Besides foreign journalists, the Taliban have carried out attacks on local journalists as well. Nematullah Hemat of the private television station Ghargasht TV is believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban, and Toofan Omar, the head of the private radio station Paktia Ghag Radio has been shot dead by Taliban fighters.
Last Wednesday, the Taliban attacked and assaulted journalists in Jalalabad for covering the protests in favour of the Afghanistan flag. Another journalist was slapped and beaten by armed Taliban radicals. Social media users said that the Taliban punished the two for working with foreign media. Similarly, reports have emerged that Taliban fighters attacked CNN journalists on Wednesday.
Indian Journalists hail Taliban for their press freedom
Ironically, the attacks on journalists by the Taliban comes at a time when senior leaders of the Jihadist organisation are trying to project a “moderate” image by its PR blitzkrieg. In fact, the propaganda of the Taliban has achieved limited success, with left-liberal journalists across the world, including from India, have fallen into their trap.
It is worth mentioning that the Indian “secular-liberal” had hailed the radical Islamic group for holding the press conference to address a few questions raised by the journalists working in Afghanistan.
On August 17, following the capture of Kabul from the Afghan government, the Islamist group Taliban had held a press conference. The “liberal-secular” establishment in India was so “impressed” by the conference that they used it to attack Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Following the footsteps of toolkit-creators, a series of posts popped up on social media platform Twitter shaming PM Modi for not holding a press conference since he resumed office in 2014. Rather than questioning the Taliban over killing one of its colleagues Danish Siddiqui, the Indian liberals were taking a dig at the Indian Prime Minister for not holding a press conference in the last seven years.