The repression follows a Taliban announcement on Tuesday that protests would not be allowed without government approval.
Several Afghan journalists said they had been arrested and beaten in custody while covering a protest on Wednesday in front of a police station in Kabul — one of the first accounts of journalists being abused since the Taliban came to power.
Zaki Daryabi, founder and editor-in-chief of the newspaper Etilaat Roz, shared images on social media of two male reporters, one with large, red welts across his lower back and legs and the other with similar marks on his shoulder and arm. Both men’s faces were bruised and cut in the pictures.
Asked about the incident, an acting Taliban Minister said that any attack on journalists would be investigated. He declined to be identified.
Daryabi said the beatings had sent a chilling message to the media in Afghanistan, where an independent press, much of it funded by Western donors, had flourished in the last 20 years.
“Five colleagues were kept in a detention centre for more than four hours, and during these four hours two of our colleagues were beaten and tortured brutally,” he said on Thursday, the day after the incident.
Taqi Daryabi, one of the two Etilaat Roz journalists, said seven or eight people beat them for about 10 minutes.
“They would raise sticks and beat us with all of their strength. After they beat us, they saw that we had passed out. They took us to lock us up in a cell with a few others,” he said.He said he saw a demonstrator who was covered in blood after being severely beaten, and witnessed Taliban fighters abusing prisoners. “They were mocking us and saying: ‘You want freedom? What freedom?” he said.
– THE TELEGRAPH INDIA