Freedom of the press in Afghanistan

Back in June, the indispensible Terry Glavin traveled through Afghanistan meeting with journalists, activists, and politicians working to resist the return of the Taliban. The Calgary Herald has been serializing Terry’s reports, and the series is dedicated to the memory of Michelle Lang.

Last weekend’s installment was a story about the kidnapping and murder of Ajmal Naqeshbandi. Ajmal, you will recall, was kidnapped along with Daniele Mastrogiacomo of La Repubblica and their driver, but while Mastrogiacomo was ransomed by the Karzai government (and appeared at a subsequent press conference looking like T.E. Lawrence), Karzai refused to pay for Ajmal’s release. Most western media reports at the time simply referred to Ajmal as “the translator.” Anyway, the Taliban slit the throat of the driver in front of Mastrogiacomo, insisting he convert to Islam. The Ajmal was later beheaded.

That sets the stage for Terry’s piece, which is a clear-eyed look at the work journalists are doing, and the risks they are running.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.