German public broadcaster’s relative killed by Taliban as they hunted for him

The Taliban were hunting for a Deutsche Welle journalist, when they shot and killed his relative

Anuj Pant
Friday 20 August 2021 08:41
<p>The Taliban’s claims of allowing more freedom to Afghanistan’s citizens, especially women, has rung hollow on the ground</p>

The Taliban’s claims of allowing more freedom to Afghanistan’s citizens, especially women, has rung hollow on the ground

The Taliban have shot and killed the relative of a Deutsche Welle (DW) journalist and seriously wounded another, the German public broadcaster said on Thursday.

The Taliban were conducting house-to-house searches to try and find the journalist who now works in Germany, the DW said.

Other relatives of the journalist managed to escape and are now on the run.

“The killing of a close relative of one of our editors by the Taliban yesterday is inconceivably tragic, and testifies to the acute danger in which all our employees and their families in Afghanistan find themselves,” DW director general Peter Limbourg said in a strongly-worded condemnation.

Mr Limbourg also called for the German government to act. DW is not revealing the name of the journalist or the location of his family as their lives are still at risk.

“It is evident that the Taliban are already carrying out organised searches for journalists, both in Kabul and in the provinces. We are running out of time!”

The DW did not provide details from the incident, but said the houses of at least three other journalists were raided by the Taliban.

“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,” said a DW report.

Amdadullah Hamdard, a translator and frequent contributor to Germany’s Die Zeit newspaper was shot and killed by two men, presumably Taliban fighters, on 2 August in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, according to the report.

It also cited the death of world-renowned Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian journalist Danish Siddiqui in July. Siddiqui was allegedly killed by the Taliban while reporting on the frontline.

A collective of German media organisations, including DW, the Federal Association of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) and Reporters Without Borders have published an open letter calling for the German government to set up an emergency visa programme for Afghan staff and journalists, who are increasingly in the Taliban’s crosshairs.

The German Journalists’ Association (DJV) has also urged swift action, pointing to the Taliban hunting stringers who work for western media and urging for their resettlement in Germany.

The Taliban have been seeking to embellish their image after taking control of Afghanistan.

Their spokespersons have said there would be no retributive killings and have claimed to allow women more freedom, compared to their past rule.

A recent incident where television anchor Shabnam Khan Dawran was allegedly turned away by the Taliban as she attempted to go to her workplace, along with the numerous other examples, however, point to the insurgent group’s claims seemingly ringing hollow in reality.

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