Six Journalists Kidnapped On Way To Workshop, Government Steps In

Taliban, picture NBC News

Six journalists who were on their way to a media workshop have been reported kidnapped, sending shock waves within media circles.  

The journalists work for private and government radio and television stations and were adducted while traveling in a group from eastern Paktika province to Paktia, in Afganistan on Friday.

The stations broadcast news in Pashto and Dari languages, and government officials have said they were working to ensure the release of the newsmen.

Agency report quotes Abdullah Hasrat, a spokesman for Paktia’s governor as saying:  “We are trying to negotiate their release with the Taliban.

This is in the midst of a confirmation by a Taliban spokesman that journalists were abducted by their fighters, promising that they would soon be released.

“Yes, our mujahideens (fighters) have mistakenly kidnapped them,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the hardline insurgent group.

“Right now mobile services are not working, but they will be released as soon as we establish contact with the local commander,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Afghanistan was rated the deadliest country in the world for a journalist to be in 2018, with 13 deaths, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The International Federation of Journalists said 16 journalists were killed last year.

READ ALSO: ‘Heaven is My Home’ Pastor Dies Observing 30-Day Fast June, the Taliban issued a threat to Afghan media, saying journalists will be targeted unless news outlets stopped broadcasting what they described as government propaganda against the insurgents.

Media organisations were given one week to stop transmitting “anti-Taliban advertisements’’ by the group’s military commission, a warning that was denounced by the Afghan government and western diplomats.

In 2016, a Taliban suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying employees of Tolo TV, the country’s largest private broadcaster, killing seven journalists. The Taliban said it killed the employees because Tolo was producing propaganda that supported the occupation of Afghanistan by the U.S. and its allies in their war against the insurgents.

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