The IPI global network of editors, publishers, and journalists calls for the immediate release of Afghan journalist Bahram Aman, one of three employees of TOLO News arrested by Taliban intelligence forces on March 17. The Taliban must immediately release Aman, who remains in custody, and cease its harassment of the country’s journalists.

The Taliban’s General Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) on Thursday raided the newsroom of independent broadcaster TOLO News in Kabul, arresting Aman, as well as station director Khpalwak Safi and another employee. According to a tweet published by TOLO News, Aman is still being detained while the other two staff members have been released.

“IPI strongly condemns the Taliban’s detention of employees of TOLO News, one of Afghanistan’s bravest and most respected independent media outlets”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “Journalist Bahram Aman must be immediately released and the Taliban must cease its harassment of independent news organizations. The IPI network stands in solidarity with our courageous colleagues in Afghanistan.”

These latest arrests highlight the alarming deterioration of press freedom in Afghanistan since the country came under Taliban rule in August 2021. Despite initial promises to uphold press freedom, the government has issued increasingly restrictive rules regarding religious content, while its security forces have cracked down on the country’s independent journalists, often through arbitrary arrests, assaults, and other forms of intimidation.