12 August 2023
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has expressed its deepest concern at a sudden surge of journalists arrested in Afghanistan. The arrests have taken place in the provinces of Kundaz, Nangarhar and Paktia.
Habibullah Sarab, an independent reporter for Ariana TV in Paktia; Jan Agha Salah, and Faquir Mohammad Faqirzai, reporters from Kilid Radio in Nangarhar; and Haseeb Hasas, from Radio Salam Watandar are among those who have been detained in the past two weeks.
IFJ affiliate, the Afghan Independent Journalists Union (AIJA) has not yet established the reason for the arrests, but it believes that this action by the security forces will further weaken free expression in the country. The Union also says that journalists in the country are feeling demotivated and frightened because of these actions.
There are reports of other arrests of journalists and media workers earlier in August.
IFJ deputy general secretary Tim Dawson said: “Over the past two years, Afghanistan’s independent media has been systematically undermined and attacked. The contrast with the undertakings made by the Taliban before their take over could not be more stark. Arrests of this kind, make all journalists fearful, and appear designed to neutralise what capacity for independent reporting remains in Afghanistan. The IFJ calls for the immediate release of all four journalists, and a programme of positive steps to guarantee media plurality in Afghanistan.” #