Photo: AFJC

Two journalists detained in Kandahar amid growing fears of arbitrary arrests

Two journalists have been arrested in the southern Kandahar province on Sunday amid growing fears of arbitrary arrests of media workers in recent weeks.

Afghanistan Journalist Center (AFJC) said in a statement on Monday that Ataullah Omar, a correspondent for TOLO News and independent journalist Shamsullah Omari were arrested in the province with no information about their safety.

Independent journalist Wahid ur-Rahman Afghanmal was also detained the same day but released the other day.

AFJC condemned these arbitrary arrests, urging the immediate and unconditional release of Ataullah and Shamsullah.

The motive behind the recent arrests is unclear, the media watchdog stated, adding that Taliban authorities are yet to comment.

The Sunday arrest is the latest in an arbitrary detainment of journalists in Afghanistan, with at least eight media personnel detained in the last two weeks, according to the AFJC statement.

During this time, correspondent of Bakhtar News Agency Sayed Wahdatullah was detained in Ghazni province, Faqir Mohammad Faqirzai and Jan Agha Saleh of Radio Killid in Nangarhar, Hasib Ehsas of Salam Watandar Radio in Kunduz, and Habibullah Sarab of Ariana News in Paktia.

These journalists remain in Taliban custody, including the Afghan-French journalist Mortaza Behboudi and Khairullah Parhar, a sports reporter in Nangarhar.

In a recent report marking the two years rule of the Taliban, AFJC stated that at least 176 journalists and reporters were arrested across the country since the group’s takeover in August 2021.

The media watchdog has urged the Taliban to keep its promises to protect journalists and comply with the press law.