(KABUL, Afghanistan.) JUST IN: #Taliban kidnapped six Afghan journalists working for private and government media organizations in eastern Paktia province, government officials and #Taliban said on Saturday it was our Mujahideens who mistakenly abducted them #AceNewsDesk reports

#AceNewsReport – Sept.08: The reporters, working for radio and TV news companies that broadcast news in the Pashto and Dari languages, were abducted while traveling together from neighboring Paktika province to Paktia to attend a media workshop on Friday: “We are trying to negotiate their release with the Taliban,” said Abdullah Hasrat, a spokesman for Paktia’s governor.

The journalists were heading to cover a ceremony in the province: The sources said that the Taliban has done the kidnapping, but the group has not commented on this claim: According to sources, the following journalists were among those kidnaped in the province TOLONews reports.

• Khairuddin, a Radio Kilid reporter

• Abdul Rauf Zaheen, a Pashtun Ghag Radio reporter

• Jamaluddin Ilham, Radio Melma reporter

• Tariq Shah Zaki, Radio Yaran reporter

• Abdul Wahad Wairan, Radio Yaran reporter

• Assadullah Samim, Radio Yaran reporter

Afghan journalists have suffered the most from the ongoing conflict over the past 18 years, according to reports: Government statistics show that there are 96 TV channels, 65 radio stations and 911 print media in Kabul, as well as 107 TV channels, 284 radio stations and 416 print media in other provinces: The statistics indicate that there are 1,879 active media outlets in Afghanistan.

A Taliban spokesman confirmed the abduction of six journalists by their fighters but said they will be released soon: “Yes, our mujahideens (fighters) have mistakenly kidnapped them,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the hardline insurgent group: “Right now mobile services are not working, but they will be released as soon as we establish contact with the local commander,” he said.

Afghanistan was the deadliest country in the world to be a journalist in 2018, with 13 deaths according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): The International Federation of Journalists said 16 journalists were killed last year.

In June, the Taliban issued a threat to Afghan media, saying journalists will be targeted unless news outlets stop broadcasting what they describe as government propaganda against the insurgents: Media organisations were given one week to stop transmitting “anti-Taliban advertisements” by the group’s military commission, a warning that was denounced by the Afghan government and western diplomats.

In 2016, a Taliban suicide bomber rammed his car into a bus carrying employees of Tolo TV, the country’s largest private broadcaster, killing seven journalists: The Taliban said it killed the employees because Tolo was producing propaganda that supported the occupation of Afghanistan by the United States and its allies in their war against the insurgents.

#AceNewsDesk reports ………………Published: Sept.08: 2019: Reuters: Reporting by Ahmad Sultan in Jalalabad, Orooj Hakimi, Abdul Qadir Sediqi in Kabul; writing by Rupam Jain; editing by Jason Neely

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