New York, April 20, 2023—Taliban authorities must allow Washington Post journalist Susannah George to return to and work from Afghanistan and should stop all attempts to restrict the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
In a statement on Thursday, April 20, Washington Post Executive Editor Sally Buzbee said that George, the paper’s Islamabad-based Afghanistan and Pakistan bureau chief, was informed by the Taliban that she was barred from reporting from Afghanistan. The statement said her last reporting trip to Afghanistan was in November 2021.
“The Taliban must immediately allow Washington Post journalist Susannah George to return to Afghanistan and continue her vital reporting,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Beh Lih Yi. “It is absurd to ban journalists for simply reporting the news. The Taliban must stop cracking down on journalism and finally allow members of the media to work freely.”
A journalist familiar with the situation who spoke with CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of retaliation, said that Taliban authorities refused to renew George’s visa and accreditation after her visa expired several months ago.
Buzbee’s statement said that the newspaper had raised objections for several months “but Afghan authorities have indicated that the action is final.” Authorities have allowed several other journalists from the newspaper to report from the country since George’s last reporting trip, that statement said.
CPJ contacted Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid for comment via messaging app but did not receive any response.
In July 2022, Taliban intelligence officers forced Australian journalist Lynne O’Donnell to tweet apologies for her previous coverage on Afghan women and girls and threatened her with jail time.