'Put his foot on my head': Afghan journalists recount Taliban torture for covering women's protest
Two Afghan journalists have recounted the horror they were subjected after a group of Taliban fighters hauled them and took them to a police station in Kabul. Their crime? They were covering the women's protest in the Capital. As reported by news agency AFP, photographer Nematullah Naqdi said one of the Taliban put his foot on his head and then crushed his face against the concrete. "I thought they were going to kill me," he told AFP.
Naqdi and his colleague reporter Taqi Daryabi, both of whom work for Etilaat Roz (Information Daily), were assigned to cover a protest in front of a police station in Kabul by women demanding the right to work and education. This was one of the many protests that took place in the country before the Taliban banned protests without permission.
They were interrupted as soon as they started taking photos. "They told me 'You cannot film'," Naqdi said adding that they tried to grab his camera but he gave it to someone in the crowd. After hours of beating and detainment, they were released. "You are lucky you weren't beheaded", the Taliban told the duo.
Five journalists from the newspaper were arrested on Wednesday, the ToloNews had reported. Zaki Daryabi, chief of the Etilaat Roz newspaper, said the Taliban's words rang hollow. "This official speech is totally different from the reality that can be observed on the ground," he told AFP. The newspaper tweeted photos of how its journalists were beaten up. Taliban officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment from AFP.
Despite promising an accommodative atmosphere where women and the press will have their freedom, the Taliban have now banned protests. In the first diktat, ordered by the new interior ministry, led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the Taliban said protesters will have to take permission before any protest or face severe legal consequences.
Several Afghani journalists, especially women, left the country after the Taliban takeover as in the previous regime, the Taliban persecuted several journalists and artistes.