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Journalists working with UN released after detention in Afghanistan

Journalists working with UN released after detention in Afghanistan

RELEASED. In this file photo, an UNHCR worker directs displaced Afghan women into an UNHCR distribution center to receive aid supply on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan October 28, 2021.

REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra/File Photo

Taliban says the journalists were detained because they 'did not have the necessary identity cards, licenses, and documents'

KABUL, Afghanistan – Two detained journalists in Afghanistan who had been working with the United Nations (UN) were released on Friday, February 11, along with several Afghan workers, the UN refugee agency said.

Earlier in the day, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had reported the detentions and said it was seeking to ensure the journalists and workers were set free.

“We are relieved to confirm the release in Kabul of the two journalists on assignment with UNHCR, and the Afghan nationals working with them,” the agency said in a statement.

“We are grateful to all who expressed concern and offered help. We remain committed to the people of Afghanistan.”

The Taliban said they had released foreign nationals without specifying who or how many.

“Those foreign nationals who identified themselves with an international institution were detained because they did not have the necessary identity cards, licenses, and documents,” said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

UN agencies employ journalists to report on their work around the world.

Since the Taliban took over the country in August, concerns have grown over a crackdown on dissent. The UN has repeatedly raised concerns over women’s rights activists who have gone missing in recent weeks.

Foreign nations have refused to recognize the Taliban-led administration but have ramped up engagement as they try to avert a massive humanitarian crisis stemming from an economy stalled by sanctions and a halt in development funding since the group took over.

A Taliban delegation visited Geneva this week for talks with aid agencies and meetings with Swiss officials. The Swiss Foreign Ministry said it planned to call on the Taliban to respect human rights and international humanitarian law. –