Taliban 'mistakenly' Abducts Journalists, Amid Impeding Peace Deal

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Taliban 'mistakenly' abducted six Afghan journalists working for private and governmental media organisations, amid US-Afghan trembling peace deal negotiations.

Written By Aishwaria Sonavane | Mumbai | Updated On:

Taliban 'mistakenly' abducted six Afghan journalists working for private and governmental media organisations in Zurmat district in the eastern Afghanistan province of Paktia.

According to Afghanistan's Tolo News, the journalists working for radio and television news organisations that broadcast news in Dari and Pashto languages were abducted while they were on their way to Paktia to attend a media workshop on Friday. The Taliban spokesperson, however, claimed that they kidnapped the journalists 'mistakenly' and also made a promise of their release. 

"We are trying to negotiate their release with the Taliban," Abdullah Hasrat, a spokesman for Paktia's governor, told international news organisation on Saturday.

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Afghanistan for journalism 

In 2018, Afghanistan topped the charts to be the most dangerous country for journalists in the world. While the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported 13 deaths, the International Federation of Journalists said 16 journalists were killed last year, as per Al Jazeera. 

In June 2019, Taliban issued an ultimatum to Afghanistan media, saying journalists would be targetted unless media outlets stop broadcasting 'government propaganda' against the armed group. Media organisations were given a week to stop broadcasting "anti-Taliban advertisements" by the group's military commission. The threat was condemned by the Afghanistan government and the Western diplomats.

In 2016, seven journalists of Tolo TV were killed in a suicide attack by the Taliban after the armed group claimed that Afghanistan's private news channel was producing propaganda that supported the US and its allies in their war against Taliban. 

United States-Taliban peace negotiation

The incident came at the time when the US President Donald Trump called off the peace negotiation with the Taliban after being on the 'threshold' of the agreement after the insurgent group claimed responsibility for the Kabul car bombing that killed 12 people, including a soldier of the United States. 

President of the United States on Sunday in a series of tweets announced that he cancelled a "secret meeting" with the representative of Taliban and a separate meeting with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David, for which, Donald Trump received immense backlash. The US President was called a "traitor" over the revelation of a probable "secret meeting" with the Taliban just days ahead of the 18th anniversary of 9/11. 

More than 2,400 U.S. troops have been killed since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan to go after the Taliban. The Taliban was also harboring Al-Qaida leaders responsible for 9/11.

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(With PTI inputs) 

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