Almost 24 hours after WION correspondent Anas Mallick was freed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the rest of his crew, who had been hired locally and kidnapped alongside him, was freed on Saturday. They were detained for nearly two days and both have wounds and bruises from being assaulted.
After a 42-hour ordeal, the Taliban released the crew members—Zakariya, the local producer, and Mayel Kharoti, the driver. The images that have surfaced show the cruelty to which they were subjected, demonstrating that Taliban 2.0 is no different from the militant group’s previous regime.
On Thursday, the group was detained while taking generic photographs of Kabul. Their assignment was to cover the anniversary of the Taliban takeover, but it also coincided with the death of Ayman al Zawahiri, the al Qaeda terror group’s chief, in a US missile strike. Anas has also reported from the area where he was assassinated. The Taliban authorities have ordered the crew to be present when summoned in the future. Anas hired these two Afghans to assist with the coverage.
Since their abduction, WION had gone to great lengths to secure their release, which they eventually did. However, it appears that the Taliban are concerned about our ground reporting in Kabul, as WION’s reporter was kidnapped while doing so with all necessary permissions. Only Anas was released on Friday, while the local producer and driver were detained by the Taliban. They had stated that they would be released shortly.
Here’s what exactly happened to him:
‘We were duly accredited, we had all the press credentials and were filming general visuals when we were intercepted, taken out of the car… dragged off the car to be very precise. Our phones were taken away. And then we were physically assaulted. My crew was assaulted and I was assaulted as well. After some while, we were shifted from the place where were intercepted to what we know is the intelligence unit of the Afghan-Taliban. We were handcuffed, blindfolded, and faced the wildest accusations and after that were questioned thoroughly on our journalistic credentials as well. Personal questions were also hurled at us.’.
Anas is a WION reporter based in Pakistan’s capital. Anas has been covering Afghanistan for WION for nearly five years. He provided some exclusive on-the-ground coverage when the Taliban took over Kabul last year. Anas expressed his outrage, saying that it is unheard of for an accredited journalist, an international journalist, and someone known to the Taliban.
He explained, ‘At the time of Kabul’s fall, we were the only Indian network there. And we arrived three months after the takeover. I was literally present at all of the press conferences and press briefings, and yet it happened, so it was a nightmare’.