On August 4, Mallick and his crew were abducted by the Taliban, despite receiving permission from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cover news stories in the country.
Speaking to his network affiliate, WION, Mallick said that his car had been intercepted by Taliban authorities who proceeded to physically assault him and his crew, confiscating the group’s phones and press credentials before transporting them to the Grand Directory of Intelligence (GDI) to be interrogated.
The group were asked a range of personal questions by authorities, including the purpose of their visit to Kabul. During the attack, the media workers were injured and reportedly experienced significant emotional trauma as a result of the abduction, which lasted 21 hours for Mallick and 42 hours for his crew. The groups’ press credentials were not returned to them.
Mallick, a reporter for Indian multinational news outlet WION in Afghanistan, was in Kabul to film a retrospective on the first year of Taliban rule. The abduction occurred shortly after he covered the alleged killing of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
According to reports, Mallick stated that he did not expect to face issues while reporting in Afghanistan as the group had been covering stories in Kabul since the Taliban takeover in August 2021, and had attended multiple press conferences and briefings prior to the incident.
In Afghanistan, increasingly strict media censorship under Taliban rule has been accompanied by a rising number of incidents of violence against journalists.
On July 22, Australian reporter Lynne O’Donnell was threatened by Taliban intelligence agents and forced to retract stories written during her visit to Afghanistan. Dost Radio presenter, Selagi Ehsaas was kidnapped by Taliban officials on July 27. In June, journalist Abdul Hanan Mohammadi was declared missing, while reporters Farhad Amiri and Maiwand Wafa were both detained.
The IFJ said: “The use of violence against Afghan journalists and media workers in the field constitutes a clear violation of press freedom and human rights. The IFJ strongly condemns the assault and abduction of Anas Mallick and his crew and calls on the Taliban to immediately cease its persecution of the media.”