Taliban Arrest Five Journalists of a Kabul Newspaper Day After Forming Caretaker Govt

The Taliban have arrested five Afghan journalists from Etilaatroz, a Kabul daily, according to a tweet by Afghanistan network Tolo News on Wednesday. The tweet said that the information of the arrest was given by Zaki Daryabi, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper.

Even as the Taliban promised international organisations that it will respect the rights of journalists, and soften its stance of women, many Afghans are reportedly unconvinced.

The news of the arrest of five journalists comes just a day after the Taliban announced a new caretaker government led by Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund in Afghanistan.

Mullah Hasan, the chief of the Taliban’s powerful decision-making body ‘Rehbari Shura’, will be the Acting Prime Minister while Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar will be his deputy in the “new Islamic government, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said at a news conference in Kabul.

A statement attributed to Taliban Supreme Leader Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada told the government to uphold Sharia law. The Taliban want “strong and healthy relations with our neighbours and all other countries based on mutual respect and interaction”, the statement, released in English, said – with the caveat that they would respect international laws and treaties “that are not in conflict with Islamic law and the country’s national values”.

In another incident, a journalist working for Tolo News, Waheed Ahmadi, was detained for around three hours on Tuesday while he was covering anti-Pakistan protests in Kabul. The Taliban arrested Ahmadi along with a dozen other journalists.

During their previous rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban banned most broadcast entertainment and there was not much space for media. According to Reporters Without Borders, a global media watchdog, around 100 private media networks shut down operations after the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August 2021.

(With agency inputs)

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