Photo: AFJC

Taliban detains local journalist Wahdatullah Abdali in Ghazni province

The Taliban detained Wahdatullah Abdali, a local journalist in southeastern Ghazni province on Sunday.

In a statement in Persian on Wednesday, the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) expressed concern about Abdali’s detention and urged for his immediate and unconditional release.

The reasons for Abdali’s arrest are still unclear.

According to AFJC, Wahdatullah Abdali, 35, has been an active reporter for the government-run Bakhtar News Agency for 15 years, serving during both the republic government’s tenure and the Taliban’s rule.

The Taliban has conducted a continuous campaign of crackdowns on media outlets and journalists since returning to power in August 2021. AFJC has documented at least 319 cases of violence against journalists and media, including 160 arrests.

Afghanistan-born French journalist Mortaza Behboudi has been in Taliban detention since January 7, 2023. Despite international calls, the group has refused to provide details about his whereabouts or indicate whether he will be freed.

Almost half of Afghanistan’s once vibrant media have been either forced to cease operations or move their offices abroad as a result of the Taliban’s strict restrictions and continued pressure over the past two years.