Ziar Yaad Khan, a reporter for Tolo News, has clarified on his Twitter that he was beaten by the Taliban while reporting in Kabul and dismissed reports of his killing as false. Earlier, Tolo News had reported that Khan had been killed by the Taliban.
“I was beaten by the Taliban in Kabul’s New City while reporting. Cameras, technical equipment and my personal mobile phone have also been hijacked. Some people have spread the news of my death which is false. The Taliban got out of an armored Land Cruiser and hit me at gunpoint,” he tweeted.
In a second Tweet, he wrote, “I still don’t know why they behaved like that and suddenly attacked me. The issue has been shared with Taliban leaders; however, the perpetrators have not yet been arrested, which is a serious threat to freedom of expression.”
Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, has told newsmen that the Taliban are “seriously following the incident with Yaad,” and will investigate why the incident took place. “We will also investigate and solve any issues in the way of the journalists,” he said.
Several reporters have been beaten by the Taliban since they took control of 33 provinces and Kabul city. In July, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, employed with news agency Reuters, was killed while reporting in Kandahar. Mr Siddiqui was riding along with the Afghan Special Forces and had been reporting on their operations against the Taliban in the region.
Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen has been reassuring journalists in various statements. “Journalists from around the world, if they want to come to our areas and file reports, they can come…They can open branches in our areas to see the ground reality with their own eyes,” he told an international news outlet in an interview after Danish Siddiqui’s killing.
The Taliban last ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, after which they were ousted by US-led forces. The previous Taliban regime is known for its oppressive policies. Since returning to power, the Taliban have been attempting to project themselves has moderates who have learnt from their past mistakes.