UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The Taliban have kidnapped six Afghan journalists working for private and government media organizations in the eastern province of Paktia, government and Taliban officials said on Saturday.
The journalists worked for news and television broadcasters in Pashto and Dari, traveling together from neighboring Paktika province to Paktia province to attend a media workshop on Friday.
“We are trying to negotiate with the Taliban for their release,” said Abdullah Hasrat, spokesman for the governor of Paktia province.
A Taliban spokesman confirmed the group’s abduction of six journalists, but said it would release them soon.
“Yes, our Mujahideen kidnapped them by mistake,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
“Mobile services are not working at the moment but we will release them as soon as we contact the local commander,” he said.
Afghanistan has seen the world’s largest number of journalists killed in 2018, killing 13, according to CPJ.
The International Federation of Journalists said 16 journalists were killed last year.
The Taliban issued a threat to Afghan media in June, saying they would target journalists unless news media stopped broadcasting what they called government propaganda against the militants.
The military committee at the time gave media organizations one week to stop broadcasting “anti-Taliban propaganda”, a warning condemned by the Afghan government and Western diplomats.
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