The Taliban Monday declared two of Afghanistan’s biggest television networks as legitimate “military targets”, accusing them of fabricating claims that militants raped women during their recent three-day occupation of northern Kunduz city.
The militant group labeled Tolo and 1TV, both privately run news and entertainment stations that are often critical of the Taliban, as “propaganda networks”.
“The (Taliban) from now on does not recognize Tolo and 1TV as media outlets but designates them as military targets due to their disrespectful and hostile actions,” the group said in a statement.
“No employee, anchor, office, news team and reporter of these TV channels holds any immunity.”
The statement said the move was in response to their recent reports claiming that Taliban fighters raped women at a female hostel in Kunduz, after the group briefly captured the city on September 28.
The Taliban rejected the reports, saying they were examples of propaganda by the “satanic networks”.
In a recent scathing report, Amnesty International also accused Taliban fighters of gang rapes and mass murder during their Kunduz occupation.
Kunduz was the first Afghan city to be overrun by the militants since they were toppled from power in 2001.
Human Rights Watch in January warned about growing violence and intimidation against journalists in Afghanistan by Taliban insurgents, warlords and the government.