The Taliban has released Qudratullah Tarrar, a local journalist in the eastern Khost province, nearly three months after his detention, Afghanistan Journalists Centre (AFJC) confirmed in a statement on Monday. The AFJC added that Tarrar had been released four weeks earlier but did not report his release to the media due to “some considerations” he had at the time.
According to the AFJC, the Taliban had arrested him for criticising the group on his Facebook account.
Welcoming his release, the AFJC also called for release of two other journalists, Mortaza Behboudi and Khairullah Parhar, who were arrested nearly two months earlier in Kabul and are still in Taliban’s custody.
The AFJC says it is concerned about the fate of the two journalists.
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The arbitrary and illegal arrests of journalists have terrified them and led to self-censorship in Afghanistan, the Centre noted.
Half of Afghanistan’s once vibrant media outlets have been either forced to stop operation, due to Taliban pressures and economic hardships, or have moved their offices abroad since the group returned to power in August 2021.
Those outlets that remain in Afghanistan are operating under strict Taliban rules and face oppressive pressure to abide by the group’s restrictions.