Journalists working for Afghanistan’s Etilaatroz newspaper said they were detained by Taliban fighters and brutally beaten after covering demonstrations in Kabul.

Photographer Nematullah Naqdi and reporter Taqi Daryabi were covering women’s-rights protests on Wednesday when they were arrested and taken to a police station in the country’s capital, the BBC reported.

The journalists said they were beaten with electric cables, whips, and batons before being released without explanation, the BBC reported. 

“One of the Taliban put his foot on my head, crushed my face against the concrete. They kicked me in the head,” Naqdi told AFP. He continued, “I thought they were going to kill me.”

“You are lucky you weren’t beheaded,” one fighter said to Naqdi when he asked why he was being beaten, AFP reported.

Daryabi told AFP that the pair was in so much pain that they couldn’t move, and that when they were eventually released without explanation, the militant group called them a handful of insults.

The journalists lost consciousness at least four times during the beatings, The Telegraph reported.

The Independent reported that both Naqdi and Daryabi were treated at a hospital for injuries to their backs and faces.

Naqdi said Taliban fighters arrested people who were using phones to film the demonstrations, AFP reported. The BBC said its journalists, among others, were prevented from filming in Kabul on Wednesday.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a nongovernmental organization in the US that promotes global press freedom, issued a statement on Wednesday calling on the Taliban to stop arresting journalists and to let them work freely without fear of reprisal.

“The Taliban is quickly proving that earlier promises to allow Afghanistan’s independent media to continue operating freely and safely are worthless,” Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator, said in the statement. “We urge the Taliban to live up to those earlier promises, to stop beating and detaining reporters doing their job, and allow the media to work freely without fear of reprisal.”

Earlier in the week, 14 journalists covering protests in Kabul were detained and later released by the Taliban, the organization said, and at least six of them were subject to violence.

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