Journalists at risk in Afghanistan

Afghanistan continues to be a perilous place for journalists after Taliban took control of the country last month.

Dozens of reporters have been killed in the last few years, and local reporters are now at even more risk as Taliban fighters conduct searches for them.

News organisations and media outlets have been making frantic efforts to get staffers, journalists, stringers, translators and fixers who played a major role in their reporting from Afghanistan, out of the country.

Nematullah Hemat of the private television station Ghargasht TV is believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban, and Toofan Omar, the head of the private radio station Paktia Ghag Radio, was shot dead by Taliban fighters according to government officials. Amdadullah Hamdard, a translator and frequent contributor to Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper, was shot dead on August 2 in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. Last month, world-renowned Indian photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner Danish Siddiqui died in Kandahar, presumably killed by Taliban militants.

Recently, Taliban fighters searching for a Deutsche Welle journalist shot dead a member of his family and seriously injured another, while other relatives of the journalist were able to escape and are on the run. Deutsche Welle also reported that the homes of at least three of its journalists have been searched by the Taliban.

“The killing of a close relative of one of our editors by the Taliban yesterday is inconceivably tragic and testifies to the acute danger in which all our employees and their families in Afghanistan find themselves,” Deutsche Welle Director General Peter Limbourg said in an article published on the broadcaster’s website.

Washington Post Publisher Fred Ryan has emailed White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan with an “urgent request” on behalf of his paper, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal for the US military to help evacuate “204 journalists, support staff and families.”

Deutsche Welle and other German news media also made a similar appeal for help for their Afghan staff.

The organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called on the UN Security Council to hold an informal special session to address the perilous situation of journalists in Afghanistan.

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