NATO arrests Afghan journalists

This video from the USA is called Afghanistan Bans News Coverage of Attacks.

From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty [founded by the CIA, so don’t talk about “liberal media”]:

Afghan Journalists‘ Detentions Raise Alarm Bells

September 23, 2010

By Abubakar Siddique

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called for an investigation into the reasons behind the detention this week of three journalists, and has instructed his Ministry of Information to ensure their release.

The detentions of the three Afghans — two of whom worked as cameramen for the Qatar-based television network Al-Jazeera, and the third a reporter for Afghan state TV (RTA) — have raised alarms outside the presidential office as well.

An Al-Jazeera statement said that the arrests were “an attempt by ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] leadership to suppress its comprehensive coverage” of the Afghan war. International media watchdogs are expressing concerns that the three are being held only for being in contact with the Taliban, and says that journalists’ right to speak to all sides in the conflict must be protected.

The arrest of one journalist has been acknowledged by NATO, which said in a press statement on September 20 said that it “captured a suspected Taliban media and propaganda facilitator, who participated in filming election attacks, during an overnight operation in Ghazni Province.”

Samer Allawi, Kabul bureau chief for the Qatar-based satellite television network Al-Jazeera, said that cameraman Rehmatullah Nekzad was detained at his home in the central city of Ghazni on the night of September 20, and cameraman Mohammad Nader at his home in the southern city of Kandahar September 22. RTA correspondent Hojatullah Mojadidi was reportedly detained in the northern Kapisa valley on September 18.

Allawi denied that the Al-Jazeera journalists were doing anything other than covering the news.

“It is clear for us that if you want to hide something than you silence the journalists,” Allawi said. “Both of the people [arrested] had good contacts with the ISAF, they had good contacts with the Taliban and Afghan authorities in their regions. They were covering what is happening there.”

He said that both Afghan and foreign journalists associated with the network have been arrested and beaten by the Taliban, Afghan government, and international troops. “All we are doing is our journalistic professional work,” Allawi said.

An ISAF spokesman, reached by telephone in Kabul, declined to comment on the issue.

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan, Bashir Ahmad Nadim, a correspondent for the Pajhwok Afghan news agency, called for the release of Nader and other detained Afghan journalists.

“You know that journalists working here face multiple problems and challenges,” Nadim said. “There is no security, little professional support. The serious problem now is that journalists face threats from various sides, and the arrest of Mohammad Nader by the international forces is an example of that.”

In New York, the Committee to Protect Journalists also expressed concern over the arrests. “We are very concerned by the detentions of Mohammed Nader and Rahmatullah Nekzad, and we call on ISAF to immediately detail why and where they are being held,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator.

On September 20, the last 1,000 remaining UK troops withdrew from Sangin, southern Afghanistan. After more than four years, they handed over control of their bases to the United States: here.

ISAF Admits Afghan Election Violence Up, Not Down: here.

‘Widespread fraud’ in Afghan ballot: More than 1,000 “potentially significant” allegations of fraud reported so far: here.

Anti-war campaigners welcomed calls on Sunday by a former UN official for a full investigation into alleged war crimes by Nato forces in Afghanistan: here.

Five US soldiers charged with killing Afghan civilians for sport and plotting a cover-up face their first hearing on Monday in a grisly war crimes case: here.

4 thoughts on “NATO arrests Afghan journalists

  1. Friday, Sep. 24, 2010

    Detained Afghan journalist released by coalition

    By ERIC TALMADGE – Associated Press Writer

    KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan journalist detained by coalition forces for allegedly spreading Taliban propaganda has been freed, NATO said Friday.

    The release follows an outcry from media workers and an order from President Hamid Karzai on Thursday to investigate the detention and seek the quick release of the journalist and two others.

    Al-Jazeera cameraman Mohammad Nadir, who was arrested in the southern city of Kandahar, was one of three Afghan journalists detained over the past week – two by the coalition and Afghan security forces and a third by the Afghan intelligence service.

    NATO said it had information linking two of the men to networks that act as a mouthpiece for the Taliban and spread insurgent propaganda.

    Nadir was let go early Friday, said Zelmai Ayubi, spokesman for the governor in the southern province of Kandahar where the journalist was arrested.

    In addition to Nadir, Hojatullah Mujadadi, a radio station manager in Kapisa province north of Kabul, was arrested Sept. 18 by Afghan intelligence agents. And Rahmatullah Naikzad, who works for Al-Jazeera and is a freelancer for The Associated Press, was detained by coalition forces in the eastern town of Ghazni. The coalition said Naikzad remains in detention as his case is being reviewed.

    The arrests sparked an angry reaction from Afghan media workers, journalism advocates and human rights groups.

    NATO defended the detentions, but the alliance’s secretary-general on Thursday said he was open to their release if they are found innocent.

    “We are in Afghanistan to fight for basic principles like free speech and a free media, and I am a strong defender of that,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the AP on the sidelines of the annual U.N. summit in New York. He said the cases would be handled fairly.

    Also Friday, a suicide bomber in a car targeted a NATO convoy on the outskirts of Mazari Sharif city in Balkh province in the north, according to Deputy Police Chief Abdul Raouf Taj.

    He said the attack only slightly damaged the convoy but one child was killed and 28 people were wounded in a wedding party bus that was passing by. Most of the injured were women and children on their way to the wedding.

    Separately, NATO reported Friday that coalition forces conducted an airstrike in Kabul province Thursday, killing Qari Mansur, a senior Haqqani operator who was linked, along with five of his associates, to an attack against an Afghan National Police unit earlier in the week. The Haqqani network is a Pakistan-based faction of the Taliban with close ties to al-Qaida.

    The coalition said it tracked Mansur to a remote valley east of the Afghan capital and then conducted the airstrike. Afghan police could not get to the area because of a suspected mine field, but both Afghan and coalition forces said all six insurgents were killed.

    “Qari Mansur was one of the most prolific attack planners for the Kabul insurgent network,” said U.S. Army Col. Rafael Torres, a lead spokesman for the coalition.

    Nadir, the cameraman, was detained about 4 a.m. Wednesday at his home. Coalition troops woke up his wife and forcibly removed him from his bedroom as they searched the house, Al-Jazeera said in a statement.

    Naikzad was arrested in his home on Monday. NATO said three grenades, magazines and a “significant number of AK-47 rounds” were found in the compound where he was detained.

    It is common for Afghans to keep weapons for protection.

    The coalition said they suspected Naikzad of working with the Taliban to spread insurgent propaganda and film attacks tied to parliamentary elections held last weekend. Naikzad supplied the AP with photographs of Afghans voting peacefully, but the AP did not use them.

    Paul Colford, media relations director for the AP in New York, said Naikzad has contributed to the AP from time to time since 2007 as a freelance photographer and videographer.

    Al-Jazeera, which has extensive contacts within insurgent groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Nadir and Naikzad were both innocent.

    “As part of their work, cameramen and crew need to have contact with all sides of those involved in a particular issue, which in this case includes NATO forces, the Afghanistan government as well as the Taliban,” the Doha, Qatar-based news organization said. “These contacts should not be seen as a criminal offense, but rather as a necessary component of the work that journalists undertake.”
    Associated Press Writer Mirwais Khan in Kandahar contributed to this report.


  2. Dear Friend,

    Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s War,” comes out tomorrow, and leaked excerpts show just how hard some military leaders are fighting to stop a withdrawal from Afghanistan. Late last year, as President Obama struggled to pin the military down into an airtight exit strategy, General Petraeus said:

    “[The administration] is ****ing with the wrong guy.”

    It’s clear Petraeus and his subordinates want to ignore the July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing troops. A colonel briefing reporters at the Pentagon this week even told them that, “No one said that we were withdrawing in July 2011.”

    Military officials need to understand that it’s not up to them when we leave Afghanistan. Ultimately, that’s up to us, the American people, and we’re sick and tired of this war that’s not making us safer and that’s not worth the cost. General Petraeus is the one messing with the wrong people–the 57 percent of Americans who oppose the war.

    The publicity around Woodward’s book gives us a new opportunity to get people’s attention about how the military is undermining the Commander-in-Chief and working to extend the war. Our new video exposes their effort, but we need your help to get it in front of people.

    Send our latest video to as many people as you can, and share it on your Facebook wall. With your help, we can keep the warmongers on the defensive and end this war.


    Derrick Crowe, Robert Greenwald
    and the Brave New Foundation team


  3. Pingback: US soldiers defiling Afghan corpses again | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: Afghan prisoner dies in NATO cell | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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