Amid flurry of Taliban diplomacy, Qatar stresses engagement
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Qatar's foreign minister said isolating Afghanistan and its new Taliban rulers “will never be an answer” and argued Wednesday that engaging with the former insurgents could empower the more moderate voices among them. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani spoke amid a flurry of diplomatic meetings taking place in Qatar, where the Taliban have maintained a political office for years in the lead-up to their takeover of Afghanistan in August. The world has been looking to see how the Taliban transition from two decades of insurgency and war to governance after they seized control of Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan as U.S.
Afghan journalists who worked for The New York Times were flown with their families to Mexico City after the Mexican government raced to provide them with travel documents.Credit Alejandro Cegarra for The New York Times.
Processing the special visas that are available to journalists often requires them to spend at least a year in a third country, presumably to satisfy the forces warning that Muslim immigrants may be terrorists working under extremely deep cover. So governments around the world are stepping in, as they did when Syrian journalists fled that country’ s war — most of them to find
Journalists and their families are in grave danger in Afghanistan . The Taliban have no compunction about carrying out targeted killings as the case of a DW journalist shows.
The German Journalists ' Association (DJV) is also calling on the German government to take swift action, given that stringers who worked for Western media are now being hunted down. "Germany must not stand idly by while our colleagues are persecuted and even murdered," said Frank Überall, the DJV chairman.
It was Zaki Daryabi’s last day in Kabul and there wasn’t much time. In a few hours, he would board a Qatari evacuation flight that would take him out of Afghanistan, probably for good. © Provided by LA Times Zaki Daryabi, helps his staff of the newspaper Etilaatroz, pack up copies of their newspaper archives to be moved to a safe location for storage, as they move office locations in Kabul. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
He woke up early and gathered his family’s luggage. He kept his farewells with his parents short. “I couldn’t see my father cry,” he said. He told his mother he wouldn’t go if she didn’t stop sobbing.
Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping
It's Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Top Pentagon officials testified in front of lawmakers on Tuesday about the risks emanating from Afghanistan weeks after the Taliban took control of the country. Meanwhile, private companies are stepping up to aid in relocation efforts for vulnerable Afghans, part of the 125,000 that were evacuated amid the U.S. exit from the country in August.And the Biden administration is taking a more forceful position on standing up for Taiwan.
A female Journalist in Afghanistan has fled the country following a ground-breaking interview with a Taliban spokesman - because she is afraid of the militant group.
While the appearance of Ms Arghand and other women on the channel has been commonplace in recent years, as the Taliban took control of Afghanistan questions were raised whether women would continue to be allowed to work in the media. Now Ms Arghand has told CNN she is fleeing the country out of fear amid reports of Taliban abuse against women.
Many of those who had jobs haven't received salaries for months. With no cash in the market, there has been a sharp rise in prices of day to day necessities including food. An already difficult situation created by war and drought has become much worse.
Development aid given by foreign countries and agencies to Afghanistan , which helped to put cash into the economy, is all but frozen. This, on the ground, means that people who worked on development projects are out of jobs. The global community faces a tough decision - how to reach the Afghan people, without recognising a Taliban government.
Twenty minutes later, he was at the office of Etilaatroz, the newspaper he founded in 2012, which had grown to become Afghanistan’s second-most-read daily. At 8 a.m., only the office staff was there. They cried as he took his leave.
The decision to take his family and escape Afghanistan wasn’t an easy one for Daryabi. When the Taliban entered Kabul in mid-August, the 31-year-old father of three refused a seat on an evacuation flight. But then Taliban members brutally beat two Etilaatroz journalists, one of them Daryabi's own brother. In the weeks afterward, his family kept pleading with him to find an escape route out of Afghanistan.
“They suffered while I remained in Kabul,” he said. When an evacuation flight opened up in early October, “I couldn’t ignore their request.”
Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Nation mourns Colin Powell
It's Monday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's unexpected death was greeted by an outpouring of grief from across the political spectrum, as Democrats and Republicans alike lauded the four-star general as a giant of public service and an African- American hero.We'll share the reactions from across the nation and globe, how the White House has responded, and Powell's long and distinguished legacy.For The Hill, I'm Ellen Mitchell.
© (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Khadim Hissain Karimi, left, editor in chief of the Afghan daily Etilaatroz, and staff members listen during a discussion of the paper's future under Taliban rule. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Afghanistan is the world ’s largest opium producer, and a strong regional Islamic State group has already mounted a string of suicide attacks. “Numerous terrorist groups, notably the Islamic State and al-Qaida are trying to take advantage of the instability in the country mounting bloody attacks,” Lavrov said.
The Taliban delegation was headed by Afghanistan ’ s deputy prime minister, Abdul Salam Hanafi, who said the previous time his group ruled offered a warning to the world now. Millions of Afghans fled the group’s hardline rule in the 1990s, and the pariah regime offered sanctuary to
More than bn (£720m) in aid has been pledged for Afghanistan , following warnings from the United Nations of a "looming catastrophe". The plea for global support was made at a conference in Geneva, following the Taliban' s takeover last month. The UN said the country was facing a major humanitarian crisis.
Mr Guterres said it was unclear how much of the more than bn promised would go towards the UN appeal. The UN has urged the Taliban to give aid workers unimpeded access. Even before the Islamist militants retook control of Afghanistan in August, fighting had forced more than 550,000
Daryabi’s departure was another blow for Afghan journalists struggling to navigate their country's wholly changed environment. Since the Taliban's takeover of the capital, mainstays of the media landscape like Etilaatroz — many of them buoyed by Western aid and considered one of the few tangible successes of the U.S.' 20-year attempt to remake Afghanistan — have been forced to reassess how they can function in the new Islamic Emirate, if at all.
Many have decided they can't. The last two months have seen the shuttering of more than 150 media organizations — some 70% of the country's news outlets, according to the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee. Like Daryabi, now in a refugee camp in Doha, hundreds of journalists have left, joining an exodus of about 120,000 people — professionals, activists and others from the ranks of Afghanistan’s nascent civil society who see no place for their ideas under the Taliban.
Why thousands of Afghans are still on US military bases
The US evacuated thousands from Afghanistan. Now, they are waiting for what comes next.He wore the outfit in Nimroz, after he delivered the last drips of intel to the Afghan Air Force on the Taliban’s position. He wore it as he drove toward Kabul on roads blasted by IEDs. He wore the outfit for the five days it took him to fight his way inside the Hamid Karzai International Airport. He wore it on his flight to Qatar, and then started to feel shy about the way he might smell on another crowded flight to Washington, DC. He wore it when he waited for hours in line for his first meal at Fort Pickett.
Most of those who remain focus on training and supporting the Afghan security forces.
Who are the Taliban? They emerged in the civil war that followed the withdrawal of Soviet troops in
Since 2012, some five million people have fled and not been able to return home, either displaced within
Those who remain must contend with Taliban masters trying to have it both ways: eagerly courting favorable coverage, especially internationally, through unprecedented news conferences and assurances of amnesty for adversaries, while also imposing strict control over what kind of news and programming are allowed in the country.
Last month, the Taliban issued 11 edicts to the media that included proscriptions on publishing or broadcasting reports which are “in conflict with Islam,” insult “national personalities” or “have a negative effect on the public.” Outlets are supposed to prepare their reports “in coordination” with the new government’s media center.
“The new rules are suffocating media freedom in the country,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement this month. “The Taliban regulations are so sweeping that journalists are self-censoring and fear ending up in prison.”
Defying the Taliban can have a heavy price. On Sept. 8, Daryabi’s brother, Taqi, and Etilaatroz video journalist Nemat Naqdi went to cover a women’s rights protest in Kabul. Taliban enforcers quickly surrounded them, manhandling Taqi into a local police station and shoving him to the ground. They grabbed anything on hand — the butts of their machine guns, pipes, cables — and pounded him till he lost consciousness.
Taliban agree to new polio vaccination across Afghanistan
ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) — U.N. agencies are gearing up to vaccinate all of Afghanistan’s children under 5 against polio for the first time since 2018, after the Taliban agreed to the campaign, the World Health Organization says. For the past three years, the Taliban barred U.N.-organized vaccination teams from doing door-to-door campaigns in parts of Afghanistan under their control, apparently out of suspicion they could be spies for the government or the West. Because of the ban and ongoing fighting, some 3.3 million children over the past three years have not been vaccinated.
© (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Taqi Daryabi, video editor of the Afghan daily Etilaatroz, backs up the paper's digital archives for safekeeping. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Naqdi soon received the same treatment. His left eye is still speckled with blood, and he has lost hearing in his left ear.
Almost a month after the savage beating, both Taqi and Naqdi were on the same Oct. 3 evacuation flight to Doha, the Qatari capital, with Daryabi. An hour after they boarded the plane, Taliban fighters barged into the Etilaatroz office, demanding to know where Daryabi was and warning staff members not to mention that the Taliban had come calling.
This week, at another women's rally in Kabul, Taliban enforcers again attacked journalists and threatened to beat demonstrators for participating. © (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Sakina Amiri, center, and other reporters continue working at Etilaatroz, an investigative newspaper, despite the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
The situation is now especially difficult for women working in the media, given the Taliban's suppression of women's rights. The day Kabul fell to the Taliban, Fatima Roshanian, the 27-year-old editor and publisher of Nimrokh, a feminist magazine, started frantically burning whatever issues she had lying around the office before any fighters could barge in. She’s now in hiding in the capital. The magazine is all but shut down.
Overnight Defense & National Security — Afghanistan concerns center stage with G-20
It's Tuesday, welcome to Overnight Defense & National Security, your nightly guide to the latest developments at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.President Biden met virtually with Group of 20 (G-20) leaders, with the group discussing topics that focused on Afghanistan rescue and humanitarian efforts.We'll have more on what was discussed specifically, the veteran diplomat that will lead Afghan relocation efforts and what's at the top of the agenda in the joint meeting of U.S., Israel and UAE.For The Hill, I'm Ellen Mitchell. Write to me with tips: [email protected]'s get to it.
“During the first week of Taliban rule in Kabul, I would wake up, wash my face, put on my clothes and start to leave home for the office. But then I would remember the Taliban are in Kabul, that it is all finished,” she said.
“One thing is clear: People like me have no place in this country for now.” © (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) A news segment is recorded at Radio Television of Afghanistan, a national public TV channel, in the Afghan capital, Kabul. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) © (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Employees watch as a news segment is recorded at Radio Television of Afghanistan in Kabul. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Some have decided to continue. As one of the largest media outlets in the country, Tolo, a private Afghan broadcaster with a staff of some 400 people, still operates its news division, said Khpolwak Sapai, deputy head of the unit. Although dozens of employees left during the U.S.-led airlift in August, the company managed to bring in replacements and turn other positions into remote work from abroad.
Sapai said female staff members were still showing up to work at the station and appearing onscreen in news broadcasts.
“The new regulations, they’re very general and it’s difficult to understand what they mean. But somehow we are still producing news and analysis, at least 20 stories every day,” Sapai said. He acknowledged difficulties in covering events not sanctioned by the Taliban, such as the women's protests last month.
“But it’s different these days. We have social media. Everyone has a smartphone. We’re relying more on citizen journalists,” he said.
Russia hosts Afghan talks, calls for inclusive government
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia hosted talks on Afghanistan on Wednesday involving senior representatives of the Taliban and other factions, a round of diplomacy that underlines Moscow's clout. Opening the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized that “forming a really inclusive government fully reflecting the interests of not only all ethnic groups but all political forces of the country” is necessary to achieve a stable peace in Afghanistan.Russia had worked for years to establish contacts with the Taliban, even though it has designated the group a terrorist organization in 2003 and never took it of the list.
Those journalists who have left are haunted either by the guilt of fleeing the country they loved or by the nightmares that warp their memories of the life they abandoned.
“When you’re in the country and you’re dying, you die once. But when you’re out of the country, the way people look at you, mistreat you, feel sorry for you — you die every single minute,” said one Afghan newspaper journalist who was evacuated to another country in August and who requested anonymity for reasons of security.
“You die … because you’re a refugee. … You’re just a number, like millions of others, and then who cares about refugees?” © (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times) Zaki Daryabi, founder of the Afghan daily Etilaatroz, plays table tennis with his younger son, Azhman, at the paper's office. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)
Daryabi still hopes to salvage what he can of Etilaatroz, which means information of the day in Dari. Sitting on his bed in a refugee camp in Doha, he is coordinating the newspaper’s now-scattered staff. Some of them remain in Kabul; others were evacuated under the auspices of various U.S. organizations and await onward visas or had reached Europe. Daryabi has been trying to raise funds online.
The newspaper is a small organization, but he speaks with obvious pride when he recounts how he, a farmer’s son from a village near Ghazni, built a newspaper from the ground up. It now has a daily circulation of 2,000 to 3,000, plus hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Over the years, it has published hard-hitting exposes of government malfeasance and corruption; one memorable investigation in 2017 showed how former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani brokered land deals in return for election support in 2014.
Daryabi often describes the paper as his oldest child, whose survival he has always acted to guarantee.
But at stake now is the general survival of fair and independent news in Afghanistan — and the fledgling civil society that the industry was helping to build, he said.
“If national and local media are shut down, what is being reported from Afghanistan will be incomplete,” Daryabi said. “Afghanistan should not be without journalists or media again.”
Times staff writer Marcus Yam contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
Biden padded the numbers of his Afghanistan evacuation while leaving Americans behind .
In case you needed more evidence that President Joe Biden terribly botched every step of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley and the Pentagon are more than willing to provide you with some. © Provided by Washington Examiner Hawley tweeted out an email shared with him by someone he says was an American official present in Afghanistan during the frantic evacuation of American citizens and lawful permanent residents. The email shows how little vetting occurred for those who were evacuated until they arrived on military bases after leaving Afghanistan.