Two Afghanistan journalists covering the women’s protests in Kabul have been detained and severely beaten by Taliban security forces, Human Rights Watch has said.
Taqi Daryabi and Nemat Naqdi, from the Kabul-based media outlet Etilaat-e Roz, were detained and attacked on Tuesday.
The pair had been covering protests by women in the Afghan capital calling for an end to Taliban violations of the rights of women and girls.
The Taliban authorities took the two men to a police station and put them in separate cells before severely beating them with cables, according to Etilaat-e Roz.
They were both released on Wednesday and have been receiving medical treatment in hospital for injuries to their backs and faces.
Zaki Daryabi, editor-in-chief of Etilaat-e Roz, said: “Two of my colleagues from who were detained by Taliban, beaten for four hours.”
He added: “Under constant and brutal torture of the Taliban, the reporters lost their consciousness four times.
“This is unacceptable. We want the Taliban to bring their soldiers to justice. We also all the media organisations stand together against this unacceptable torture.”
Human Rights Watch said the Taliban has been detaining and assaulting journalists imposing new restrictions on media work – and demanded it stops the assaults and drop the restrictions.
The organisation said Taliban members responsible for attacks against protesters and journalists should be appropriately punished.
Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Taliban authorities claimed that they would allow the media to function so long as they ‘respected Islamic values’, but they are increasingly preventing journalists from reporting on demonstrations.
“The Taliban need to ensure that all journalists are able to carry out their work without abusive restrictions or fear of retribution.”
Human Rights Watch also reported that the Taliban authorities also detained a photojournalist named Wahid Ahmadi from Tolonews on Tuesday and released him later that day.
The authorities reportedly confiscated his camera and prevented other journalists from filming the protest.
The Taliban has repeatedly promised to uphold women’s rights since seizing power last month.
But many Afghans and international observers are deeply sceptical, with reports of fighters already breaking their pledge.
Earlier this week, male and female students were segregated by a curtain down the middle of a classroom in one university in Kabul.
Meanwhile, witnesses have said that the Taliban have broken up women’s rights protests in Kabul by firing shots into the air and using tear gas and tasers.
Women marched through the Afghan capital for the second day in a row on Saturday demanding their freedoms are guaranteed under the new Islamist regime.
The Taliban has since announced a ban on all protests in Kabul and other provinces in Afghanistan which have not got prior permission.
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