AFJC calls for the release of two journalists held in Jalalabad and Khost


January 23, 2023

Jalalabad, Nangarhar province- Afghanistan Journalists Center(AFJC) calls for the immediate and unconditional release of freelance sports journalist Khairullah Parhar, who was arrested in Jalalabad two weeks ago, as well as the release of a journalist from Khost province that was detained by the National Directorate of Intelligence since November 11.

A journalist from Jalalabad city in the eastern Nangarhar province who asked to remain anonymous due to security concerns, said:” Khairullah Parhar was detained by the General Directorate of Intelligence(GDI) in Kabul on January 9.” “On December 14, Parhar’s cell phone was confiscated by the GDI members at Jalalabad cricket stadium and he was summoned by the authorities to collect his phone in Kabul.”

The GDI or the provincial authorities have not explained why the journalist has been detained or where he was taken. AFJC could not determine whether Parhar was reporting at the stadium at the time.

According to the AFJC’s annual report released in December 2022, press freedom in the country is rapidly fading. AFJC recorded a total of 260 violations including threats, detentions, and violent confrontations, which is a sharp 138% increase from 2021. Of the total number of events recorded in 2022, at least 119 journalists and media workers were temporarily detained for one to several hours and days and several months, the majority of which have been accompanied by physical and psychological violence, insults, and humiliation of detainees.

Among the detained journalists in 2022, at least one journalist confirmed that still in prison. Qudratullah Tarar, a reporter for Zarghun TV from the southeastern city of Khost was arrested for his journalism work and critical posts on social media on November 11, 2022.

AFJC said:” We are gravely concerned that the whereabouts and the current situation of Khairullah Khairkhah and Qutratullah Tarar have not been disclosed to their families as of the time of the release of this statement – which constitutes a violation of their visitation right.

AFJC Said:” We call on the Islamic Emirate [Taliban] authorities to immediately and unconditionally release journalists Khairullah Parhar and Qutratullah Tarar and to cease the use of force and ensure the freedom of the press in Afghanistan.”