KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban have fired gunshots to disperse a rally on Tuesday in Kabul and arrested several Afghan journalists who were covering the demonstration, witnesses and Afghan media outlets said.
The protest began outside the Pakistan Embassy in the Afghan capital to denounce what the demonstrators allege as Pakistan’s interference in Afghanistan, especially Islamabad’s alleged support for the latest Taliban offensive that routed anti-Taliban fighters in Panjshir province.
Posts on social media demanded the release of the arrested reporters.
An Afghan journalist who was among those detained and who was later freed told The Associated Press he was punished by the Taliban. “They made me rub my nose on the ground and apologize for covering the protest,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fears for his safety. “Journalism is Afghanistan is getting harder,” he added.
Afghanistan’s TOLOnews TV channel said its cameraman Wahid Ahmadi was among those arrested.
Since taking control of Afghanistan last month, there have been reports of Taliban beating and threatening journalists. In one known case, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Taliban fighters going door to door in a hunt for one of its journalists shot and killed a member of his family and seriously injured another.