Washington Post condemns Taliban banning its bureau chief

The Taliban has prohibited Susannah George, the head of the Washington Post’s Afghanistan/Pakistan bureau, from continuing to work and report from inside Afghanistan, Executive Editor, Sally Buzbee said on Thursday.

The Washington Post Executive Editor has expressed that they do not see any justification for this action and that they believe Susannah has been “unjustly” banned.

“The Washington Post has been told by the government of Afghanistan that Susannah George, our Afghanistan/Pakistan bureau chief, will no longer be permitted to report from inside Afghanistan. Over the last several months, The Post has objected strongly to this decision, saying that we see no justification for the move, but Afghan authorities have indicated that the action is final.” Sally Buzbee said in a statement.

According to the newspaper, Susannah’s work has been exemplary during her three-year tenure as bureau chief, which included her courageous reporting on the Taliban’s seizure of power in August 2021.

Despite this setback, the Washington Post has expressed a commitment to providing on-the-ground coverage from Afghanistan, with the Executive Editor Sally saying “We have made the decision with her that she moves on to another reporting assignment later this year. We have begun the process of identifying a new Afghanistan bureau chief in the expectation that the Afghan authorities will honor a commitment to allow Post journalists to report from inside Afghanistan.”

The Taliban officials are yet to comment in this regard.

This banning of journalists comes in the wake of many restrictions on media imposed by the group, including blocking the websites and stopping the broadcasts of Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe.

The Washington Post bureau in Kabul was opened for the first time in 2001, at the same time as the beginning of the US military presence in Afghanistan. Despite this serious setback, Executive Editor said that the Post is committed to delivering on-the-ground coverage from Afghanistan and it is part of their journalistic obligation to bring scrutiny of America’s longest war.