A journalist working with Afghan news channel TOLO News on Thursday alleged that he was beaten by the Taliban while on an assignment in Kabul.
Ziar Khan Yaad denied the news reports of his death, which began circulating on social media earlier in the day. They were based on an wrongly-translated tweet from TOLO News, as pointed out by BBC’s Nicola Careem.
“Some people have spread the news of my death which is false,” the TOLO News journalist said. “I was beaten by the Taliban in Kabul’s New City while reporting.”
Zaad added that the Taliban seized his technical equipment and mobile phone. “I still don’t know why they behaved like that and suddenly attacked me,” the journalist added. He said that the Taliban’s actions were a serious threat to freedom of expression.
The Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan after 20 years has triggered concerns that there might be reprisals against their opponents.
“There are grave fears for women, for journalists and for the new generation of civil society leaders who have emerged in the past years,” United Nations Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet had said on Tuesday, according to Al Jazeera.
She had added: “Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and religious minorities are also at risk of violence and repression, given previous patterns of serious violations under Taliban rule and reports of killings and targeted attacks in recent months.”
The BBC had on Friday reported that the Taliban were going door-to-door in search of people who had worked for the former Afghan government or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
The news network cited a private intelligence report from the RHIPTO Norwegian Center for Global Analyses. “There are a high number of individuals that are currently being targeted by the Taliban and the threat is crystal clear,” Christian Nellemann, the head of the group that prepared the report, told the BBC.
Last Thursday, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle had said the Taliban killed a relative of their journalists during a door-to-door search.