Afghanistan: Two journalists who were brutally beaten up by the Taliban in Afghanistan last week have narrated their ordeal in a conversation with the BBC.
Taqi Daryabi and Niamat Naqdi reported that they were detained, and beaten up, in custody for covering a demonstration of women in Kabul.
The pictures of these journalists working in ‘Etilataroz’ newspaper had gone viral on social media. There were injury marks on his body.
According to these journalists, they were taken to jail, where many people of the Taliban beat them fiercely with sticks etc. and released after a few hours.
A news agency report quoted a Taliban leader as saying that the attack on any journalist would be investigated. However, what investigation has been done so far regarding the beating of these two journalists, it is not known.
In a press release issued on September 8, an organization called the ‘Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) called on the Taliban to detain journalists and stop violence against them.
The CPJ, citing news reports, said at least 14 journalists were detained and later released while covering demonstrations against the Taliban in the past two days.
After taking control of Afghanistan, the Taliban have consistently spoken positively on freedom of speech and women’s rights in their press conferences, but they are accused of discrepancies in their words and actions.
In a conversation with the BBC, both the journalists talked about the whole incident and the future of journalism in Afghanistan.
Taki Daryabi, 22, told Kabul that there was a demonstration by some women on Wednesday, which she and her partner, Niamat, decided to cover up.
This demonstration was to start at 10 am and both these journalists reached the protest site on time.
The number of women protesting there was less, so they waited for about 20 more minutes.
Taki told that when the demonstration started, then he started taking pictures and making videos.
The women had banners in their hands and there were armed Taliban around them too.
A woman had a paper in her hand, on which it was written – “Don’t recognize the Taliban. The Taliban do not believe in women’s rights.”
According to Taki, during this time a Taliban fighter grabbed his hand so that he could be taken to the police station. However, the women protesting prevented the Taliban from doing so.
Taki explains, “A man in the police station took me to a room where some other people came and started beating me. There were eight to 10 people and they were beating me with whatever they had in their hands. ”
“They beat me for 10-12 minutes. After 10-12 minutes I fainted. They took me to another room. There were also some criminals, whose crime I don’t know about. They left me in that room. Diya and left after locking the door.”
Taki Daryabi said, “I lay there for about four hours. When they left me there, five minutes after I opened my eyes, I saw that the cash was there with me. We couldn’t stand on our feet. Our body did not even have the strength to stand.
Neemat Nakdi says, “They beat both of us mercilessly. Whatever came in their hands, like a police stick, wire, etc. We were badly hurt.”
He says, “They took our thumb impression on a paper (not a clear sound.) But we were so hurt and we were so unconscious that we couldn’t read what was written on that paper.”
Taki Daryabi says that the doctor has said that he has not suffered any serious injuries and that he needs two weeks of rest.
Taki says he thought the Taliban wanted to talk to him and didn’t expect him to be beaten up.
Taki says of the Taliban who beat them, “Some were very young and some would be as old as me – 20-22 years. Some of them were older – between 40 and 45. I told them too That we are journalists and we are not among those who started the protest but they did not listen to us.”
Taki says that he wanted to become the voice of the people by becoming a journalist, but he is worried about the future of journalism in Afghanistan.
He says, “I have to continue my job. I have to continue my work. I have (my) concerns but I will keep doing my work. And I will always be a journalist. I think the Taliban will take away freedom of speech from journalists.” I worry about the journalists in Afghanistan. One day we might not be able to go to work.”
Taki says, “I don’t know much about the Taliban. I haven’t had a chance to read much about them, but the more I read, I think Afghanistan is going in the wrong direction. There is no freedom for the people.” And we will lose the values we have gained in the last 20 years. I don’t see the future of Afghanistan as good.”
His family is also very worried about his beating.
Taki explains, “They told me not to do this work now. They say that the Taliban will kill me once again. They are afraid that next time there will be more. But I told them not to worry. If my Even if something bad happens to me, I will continue with my work.”
Taki says that international journalists should not keep silent and should not be called Afghan journalists.
Niamat Naqdi says, “Freedom of expression in Afghanistan has a difficult future and it will face a crisis. Whether in this country or outside, we demand that we can raise the voice of the common people without any restrictions.”