The Taliban has killed a family member of a journalist for Deutsche Welle, the German international broadcaster said.
In an article published on Thursday, DW said that Taliban fighters had been searching for one of their journalists in Afghanistan, and confirmed that a relative of the journalist was shot dead by the Taliban on Wednesday with one other person seriously injured. Other relatives were able to escape at the last minute and are on the run, the DW article said.
“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 was quoted as saying in the article.
“It is evident that the Taliban are already carrying out organized searches for journalists, both in Kabul and in the provinces. We are running out of time!” Limburg added.
The article added that the homes of at least three DW journalists had been searched by the Taliban.
DW’s press spokesman Christoph Jumpelt told CNN in a written statement that ”at this point we are not giving individual statements pertaining to the tragic event concerning the relatives of one of our journalists.”
On Sunday — the day Kabul fell to the Taliban — DW and other major German news media urged the German government to help evacuate their Afghan staff to Germany.
In an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, German major newspapers as well as public and commercial broadcasters including DW and the DPA news agency requested a speedy evacuation of their Afghan journalists whose lives were in danger. They also called for an emergency visa program to allow their employees to emigrate to Germany.
The signatories of the letter warned that “the lives of these freelance staff are now in acute danger.”
”Even life in Kabul has become extremely risky for employees of international media organizations. Following the withdrawal of international troops, including German troops, there are growing concerns that the Taliban will take revenge against our employees,” the letter said.
The letter added that dozens of journalists have been murdered in recent years, by the Taliban, by the “Islamic State,” or by unknown persons — and almost never has the government identified the perpetrators.
“It must be feared that such murders will now dramatically increase — and many of our staff are at risk. Employees who want to leave the country face persecution, arrest, torture and death. We, therefore, ask you to act quickly,” the letter’s signatories pleaded.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has described the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan as “bitter, dramatic and terrible,” and stressed the importance of evacuating as many Afghans as possible, who supported the German military and civilian efforts in the country.
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