Taliban meet poets, writers, activists amid reports of persecution thumbnail

Taliban meet poets, writers, activists amid reports of persecution

A prominent leader of both the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network has met poets, writers, civil society activists, and journalists from Khost province of Afghanistan and assured them that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the new Taliban government, will not only allow them to work but also assist them.

Anas Haqqani, a member of the Taliban’s Qatar negotiating team, spoke about tolerance and working together at a meeting in Khost.

The claim was made as German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) reported that the Taliban had launched a house-to-house search to try and find journalists working with the Western media houses.

‘Tolerate each other’

Ansas Haqaani has been spearheading the efforts to bring about political reconciliation in Afghanistan. After Kabul’s capture by the Taliban, he met former Afghan president Ashraf Ghani, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation Dr Abdullah Abdullah and other leaders.

On Friday, he visited the Information and Culture Department in Khost to meet local journalists, poets, writers, and civil society activists, Pashto language website Nunn Takki Asia reported.

Haqqani told the audience that the media and journalists should continue to work
impartially and sincerely, taking into account their Muslim and Afghan culture.

He added that the Islamic Emirate would assist them in every possible way and listen to their complaints. The Taliban leader told the audience that a special commission would be formed to improve their work conditions, the website said.

Haqqani said Afghans must tolerate each other and solve their internal issues without involving outsiders or disrupting the system.

Towards the end of the meeting, he answered questions from journalists.

Persecution of journalists

Days before Haqqani’s engagement with poets and journalists
in Khost, the Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid assured journalists of
freedom to work independently in Afghanistan as he spoke to local and international
journalists on Tuesday.

However, German broadcasters DW has reported the Taliban have killed a relative of one of its Afghan producers in Herat. It said the Taliban fighter had been hunting the journalist and his relatives.

The broadcaster said the Taliban had also raided the homes of three DW journalists while journalists working for other media houses had either gone missing or had been killed. “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, according to government officials, targeted and shot dead by Taliban fighters, ” DW said.

Taliban door-to-door searches were targeted not only against journalists and their families but also against people who worked with the US and Nato forces.

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