Photo: AFJC

Watchdog announces release of three local journalists from Taliban custody

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) has reported that the Taliban authorities released three local journalists who were detained in the provinces of Paktia, Kunar, and Uruzgan last month.

In a statement on Saturday, the AFJC announced that Habibullah Sarab, a reporter for Ariana News TV in southern Paktia province, and Parwiz Sargand, a freelance reporter in eastern Kunar province, were released from the Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) detention center in Kabul.

Shah Mahmoud Hamdard, a presenter at the provincial branch of the National Radio Television of Afghanistan (RTA) in southern Uruzgan province, was also freed from a Taliban prison in Tirinkut on August 21, the AFJC stated.

According to the media watchdog, Habibullah Sarab was detained by the Taliban’s GDI on August 11 in Gardiz, the capital of Paktia province, and Parwiz Sargand was arrested on the same day in Asadabad, the capital of Kunar province.

These journalists, the AFJC said, were released “on the condition that they do not work for media outlets that Taliban deem forbidden.”

The media watchdog urged the Taliban authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all media workers who remain in the group’s detention centers, including Mortzad Behboudi, an Afghanistan-born French journalist who has been held since January, and Aminullah Alemi, the manager of Mumtaz Radio Station jailed since July 21.

The AFJC also implored the Taliban to put an end to these arbitrary arrests, thereby upholding the fundamental principles of freedom of press and expression.