Local journalists accused of propagating for Taliban were detained

Local journalists accused of propagating for Taliban were detained

Afghan intelligence has detained four local journalists in the southern province of Kandahar on charges of promoting Taliban propaganda. The suspect local journalists were arrested after meeting with a number of Taliban commanders and Mullah Yaqub Omari, son of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said on Sunday, August 01.

On July 25, these journalists had gone to interview Taliban commanders at the house of Abdul Raziq Achakzai in Spin Boldak district, a statement issued by the NDS said.

A press release published by the NDS said the men were trying to ignore the “anti-human” activities of the Taliban by interviewing their leaders at the house of Abdul Raziq Achakzai, former Kandahar police chief in Spin Boldak district on July 25.

The journalists have talked to Mullah Yaqub Omari, Mawlawi Gul Aqa, and Mawlawi Manzoor, the Taliban intelligence officials, and Gen. Mobin and Faizullah of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), according to the statement.  

Bismillah Watandost, one of the accused journalists, who is head of Sed a Melat radio station, under Taliban influence, had tried to deliver Taliban message to Kandahar Governor, Rohullah Khanzada, asking him to surrender to the Taliban, the statement said.

Another local journalist, who has been detained by the NDS, claimed to be working for Xinhua, a Chinese news agency. Xinhua has rejected his claim.  

The NDS said they had gone to Taliban-controlled area without informing the relevant security institutions.   

On July 26, the Afghan Independent Journalist Association said Bismillah Watandost, Qudrat Sultani, Mohib Obaidi, and Sanaullah Siam were arrested by the NDS while they were on their way back from Kandahar’s Spin Boldak district.

According to the association, they had gone to the district to prepare an investigative report on “genocide” carried out by the Taliban militants.

A day later, Nai, Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan, called on the government to share details on this arrest.

Amnesty International and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) have expressed concerns over the detention of these journalists and called for their release.