By Thomas Catenacci
The Taliban executed the relative of a journalist and seriously harmed another after a door-to-door search for the reporter in Afghanistan.
The unnamed journalist, who works for German state-owned broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW), is one of several reporters the Taliban have hunted in the aftermath of the Afghan government’s collapse, the media outlet reported. The journalist is reportedly safe and currently living in Germany.
“The killing of a close relative of one of our editors by the Taliban yesterday is inconceivably tragic, and testifies to the acute danger in which all our employees and their families in Afghanistan find themselves,” DW Director General Peter Limbourg said in a statement.
“It is evident that the Taliban are already carrying out organized searches for journalists, both in Kabul and in the provinces,” he continued. “We are running out of time!”
The Taliban has raided the homes of at least three other DW journalists, according to the media outlet. Insurgents also reportedly kidnapped the employee of a Middle Eastern television network and killed the head of a radio station.
Meanwhile, Germans and other foreign nationals have had difficulty making it through Taliban barricades set up outside of the Kabul airport where Western nations are coordinating evacuations, DW reported. The U.S., which has secured the airport and is conducting much of the evacuation operations, has admitted to relying upon the Taliban to allow fleeing individuals and their families into the airport.
Videos shared on social media appeared to show Afghans handing babies to U.S. soldiers over the airport’s barb-wire fence in desperation.
WATCH: A small Afghan child was pulled over a wall to U.S. soldiers as large crowds gathered outside the Kabul airport. pic.twitter.com/sOsfhm6Fin
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) August 19, 2021
“With the Taliban takeover, the lives of Deutsche Welle employees and their families in Afghanistan are under acute threat,” DW executives Karl Jüsten and Peter Clever said in a translated joint statement. “Alone the fact that they worked for a western broadcaster could result in torture and death.”
German Federation of Journalists Chairman Frank Überall issued a statement calling upon German Chancellor Angela Merkel to expedite the evacuations of German journalists from Afghanistan, according to DW. “The people are in very grave danger because of their work,” he said.
The three largest American media companies have similarly asked the U.S. government to facilitate safe transport of its employees out of Afghanistan, the Wall Street Journal reported. A WSJ spokesperson said “the situation on the ground remains extremely perilous” in a statement.
“The Biden administration can and should do all within its power to protect press freedom and stand up for the rights of the vulnerable Afghan reporters, photographers, and media workers,” Committee to Protect Journalists Executive Director Joel Simon said on Monday.
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