Taliban harass reporter

AUGUST 28, 2007
Posted August 28, 2007

Mohammad Zahir Bahand, Salam Watandar, Reporter


Bahand was kidnapped by Taliban in the vicinity of the Pulisurkh area in Sayedabad district of Wardak province and was released after a few hours of questioning, according to Kabul-based radio station Salam Watandar’s manager Sanjar Qiam. Bahand was picked up by two armed Taliban fighters on the main Kabul—Kandahar road. He was blindfolded and taken to a Taliban command center on the back of a motorbike. Qiam says a person who identified himself as deputy of Zabiullah Mujahid, one of the Taliban’s spokesmen in the region, told Sahand that he and Salam Watander (a news syndication service run by Internews and distributed to Internews-backed radio stations around the country) should strive for more balanced reporting. Zabiullah said the Taliban were unhappy about reports on the torching of another Internews station, Yawali Ghag, on August 17.  

Bahand, who had been working for Salam Watander for about one month, was told to make sure that the service covered some upcoming attacks. Soon after his release, three rockets were fired in Sayedabad and two trucks supplying fuel to NATO forces were burned.

Bahand was also advised to grow his beard and dress according to Islamic law, and warned that he would be watched by Taliban spies in the government, according to Qiam’s report.