US-based Afghan journalist arrested on arrival in Kandahar

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) in condemning the arrest of a US-based Afghan journalist without charge on Tuesday, June 17.

Khalid Hadi Haidari, the editor-in-chief of Benawa.com, a Pashto language website established in 2004 covering human rights, freedom of speech, civil rights and related issues in Afghanistan, was arrested upon his arrival in Kandahar Airport, southern Afghanistan. He was on his way to Kabul to visit friends.

According to reports, Haidari, a well-known journalist who had worked for CNN during the Taliban government in Afghanistan, was arrested for the coverage that was critical of Kandahar’s governor. His location and condition have not been disclosed.

The AIJA said: “The Afghan security forces should clarify the charges against Khalid and justify his arrest.” The AIJA also asked the Kandahar government to disclose his location and allow his family and friends to visit him.

The IFJ added: “The arrest of a journalist without a warrant is unacceptable and is clearly an assault on press freedom. The Afghanistan government should ensure that basic human rights and the rights of journalists are respected.”

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries to operate in for journalists, with five journalists having lost their lives so far in 2014. The government’s use of arbitrary arrest harasses and intimidates journalists going about their crucial role of reporting on the country.