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Three journalists allegedly beaten by Taliban 



(Last Updated On: August 18, 2021)

An Ariana News journalist, a Pajhwok Afghan News photographer and a reporter for Khorshid TV were allegedly assaulted by Taliban members on Wednesday. 

The Ariana News reporter, Mahmoud Naimi, and Pajhwok photographer, Babrak Aminzadah, were both allegedly beaten while covering a demonstration in Nangarhar, while the Khorshid TV journalist, Nawid Ahmad Kawesh, was allegedly beaten at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Wednesday. 

Nai-Supporting Open Media in Afghanistan says that Naimi, and Aminzadah, were beaten on Wednesday morning while covering a protest march in Jalalabad.

At the same time, the Afghan Independent Journalists Association reported that Nawid Ahmad Kawesh, a Khorshid TV reporter, had been beaten while trying to interview a Taliban member in front of Kabul Airport.

Meanwhile, Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy head of the Taliban’s cultural commission, confirmed that they had received reports of ill-treatment and threats against journalists in Kabul and Nangarhar. He said they are investigating the claims. 

Wasiq however assured the media that they would take action against the Taliban members who threatened these journalists.

This comes after Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujaheed addressed his first ever press conference on Tuesday night and assured the media that the Taliban’s interaction with the media will be based on principles.

“Once again we want to assure all media that our interaction with all media will be based on principles.” He said: “We want all private media to be free and independent and to continue their impartial coverage. We also have three requests from the media and we hope they will agree with us.”

He further said: “First: All publications must be in accordance with Islamic values and principles and can be published in accordance with Islamic principles and values and operate and publish freely.

“Second, the media must be neutral in matters. We want the media to have healthy criticism of us so that the future administration realizes its shortcomings and with your cooperation [media] we will understand the shortcomings and will be able to provide better services to society.

“Third: Publications should not be against our national values, such as inciting ethnic prejudices, inciting ethnic or religious issues, because this is not in the interests of our society.”

Meanwhile, at least three people were killed and several more injured in Jalalabad, after gunshots were fired at a protest against the use of the Taliban flag on Wednesday. 

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EU calls for investigation into poisoning of Afghan schoolgirls



(Last Updated On: June 8, 2023)

The European Union has called on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) to investigate the poisoning of primary schoolgirls in northern Sar-e-Pul province after at least 77 students were hospitalized.

Two separate attacks took place in Sar-e-Pul province on Saturday and Sunday, local authorities said.

Sixty schoolgirls were poisoned in Naswan-e-Kabod Aab School and 17 others were poisoned in Naswan-e-Faizabad, said the head of the provincial education department Mohammad Rahmani. He said the attacks happened at the start of classes and students were vomiting and had asthma, vertigo and headaches.

Rahmani said the department’s initial investigation showed the person who orchestrated the poisonings had a personal grudge and that a third party was paid to carry out the attacks. He has not said what kind of substance officials believe the girls were poisoned with, and local authorities have not provided updates on the attack.

The EU in a statement called the poisonings a “heinous crime that needs to be followed up by the de facto authorities,” in line with their obligations to protect the population under international law.

“Right to education is the human right of all children, everywhere. Schools need to be safe places for all children.”

In a tweet on Wednesday, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said he was deeply concerned by reports that scores of schoolgirls may have been poisoned in Afghanistan’s Sar-e Pul province. “Urge every measure be taken to investigate and keep children safe! Afghans deserve education without fear or restrictions,” he said.

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24 people including 8 children die in Sar-e-Pul traffic accident



(Last Updated On: June 7, 2023)

At least 24 people died in a traffic accident on Wednesday in Sar-e-Pul province of Afghanistan, local officials said.

Din Mohammad Nazari, the spokesman of the Sar-e-Pul Province Police Command, said eight children, 12 women and four men died in the accident.

According to Nazari the accident happened in Sayad Sarpul district on Wednesday afternoon when a passenger vehicle left the round.

Nazari said the accident was the result of careless driving.

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US special envoy says reports of IEA crackdown on poppies are ‘credible’



(Last Updated On: June 7, 2023)

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West said on Wednesday that reports about the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) cracking down on poppy cultivation are “credible and important”.

West said in a tweet that “reports that the Taliban (IEA) have implemented policies to significantly decrease opium poppy production this year are credible and important.

“Every country in the region and beyond has a shared interest in an Afghanistan free of drugs,” he said.

His comments come after the BBC reported on Tuesday that an investigation by the media outlet found a marked decrease in poppy cultivation across Afghanistan this year.

The BBC reported that it traveled in Afghanistan – and used satellite analysis – to examine the effects of a decree issued in April 2022 by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s (IEA) supreme leader Hibatullah Akhundzada that the cultivation of poppies, from which opium, the key ingredient for the drug heroin can be extracted, was strictly prohibited.

The news outlet stated that IEA leaders appear to have been more successful cracking down on cultivation than anyone ever has.

“We found a huge fall in poppy growth in major opium-growing provinces, with one expert saying annual cultivation could be 80% down on last year. Less-profitable wheat crops have supplanted poppies in fields – and many farmers say they are suffering financially,” the report stated.

Provinces visited by the BBC included Nangarhar, Kandahar and Helmand. Studies of satellite images were also done.

“It is likely that cultivation will be less than 20% of what it was in 2022. The scale of the reduction will be unprecedented,” said David Mansfield, a leading expert on Afghanistan’s drugs trade, who is working with Alcis – a UK firm which specializes in satellite analysis.

Alcis’s analysis shows that poppy cultivation in Helmand has reduced by more than 99%. “The high resolution imagery of Helmand province shows that poppy cultivation is down to less than 1,000 hectares when it was 129,000 hectares the previous year,” said David Mansfield.

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