Kabul [Afghanistan], August 2 (ANI): Four Afghan journalists who were arrested in southern Kandahar province this week, were "collaborating" with the Taliban, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said on Sunday.
The scribes who claimed to be working with China's Xinhua news agency were arrested after they visited the Spin Boldak border crossing near Pakistan last week after it had been seized by the Taliban, Ariana News reported.
NDS said in a statement that reporters met and interviewed Taliban leaders and Pakistan spy agency (ISI) officials, including Mullah Yaqoob, the son of former Taliban leader Mullah Omar, at the house of former Kandahar Police Chief in Kandahar province.
According to NDS, the scribes wanted to "purify" the Taliban and "to ignore the inhuman acts of this terrorist group in some provinces of the country, especially the tragic events in Spin Boldak region so as to direct the public opinion in favour of the Taliban."Reacting to the arrests, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) had said that the arrests this week of four journalists in Kandahar underscore rising concerns the Afghan government is trying to shield itself from media criticism. Among the many threats they face, Afghanistan's embattled journalists should not also have to face prosecution for doing their jobs, the group said.
On July 26, four journalists - Mohib Obaidi, Sanaullah Siyam, Qudrat Sultani, and Bismillah Watandost - were arrested by the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan's intelligence agency, after they returned from Spin Boldak district where they had been investigating reports that the Taliban had killed civilians.
"The Ministry of Interior has accused the journalists of spreading enemy propaganda. Unless charged with a genuine crime, the four journalists should be released immediately," the rights group said. (ANI)