Taliban expel foreign journalists

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban prisoners reportedly attack British journalist

New York, November 26, 2001—CPJ is investigating reports that Taliban prisoners attacked a British journalist in the Qala-i-Jhangi fort, outside Mazar-i-Sharif.

On the morning of November 25, Taliban soldiers attacked a British reporter who was conducting interviews inside the fort, according to an account by Time magazine reporter Alex Perry. The reporter, whose identity has not been confirmed, was then rescued and driven away in a taxi.

Following the attack on the reporter, several hundred Taliban prisoners seized weapons and launched an assault on their Northern Alliance captors. At least 20 Northern Alliance troops and several hundred Taliban soldiers were killed in the uprising (which was ongoing as of November 27).

AFGHANISTAN: ITN reporter wounded by shrapnel

New York, November 26, 2001—On November 24, Andrea Catherwood, a reporter for the British television news network ITN, was injured by shrapnel from a grenade set off by a Taliban soldier outside the Qala-i-Jhangi fort near Mazar-i Sharif, according to the ITN press office in London. The explosion occurred while Northern Alliance soldiers were searching Taliban troops who had recently surrendered.

Catherwood was standing about 10 yards (9 meters) away from the Taliban soldier when he detonated a hand grenade, killing himself, two other Taliban fighters, and a Northern Alliance official standing nearby. Catherwood received shrapnel wounds in the leg; her translator was also injured.

The journalist is being treated in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and is expected to fly back to London on Wednesday.

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban expel foreign journalists

New York, November 26, 2001—On November 22, about 100 foreign journalists were expelled from Afghanistan by Taliban officials after being invited to visit areas of the country still under Taliban control.

On November 20, the journalists entered Spin Boldak, a town near the Pakistani border, after obtaining visas from the Taliban. The reporters were allowed to visit a refugee camp and were invited to Kandahar, the Taliban’s southern stronghold.

However, on November 22, before bringing the journalists to Kandahar, Taliban officials suddenly notified them that they had 90 minutes to pack their things and leave. The journalists were then escorted to the Pakistani border town of Chaman.

The reason for the expulsion is unclear, although a New York Times journalist present reported that the order followed a debate between moderate and hard-line Taliban officials over whether the journalists should be allowed to stay.