What happened? Several reports are pouring in regarding the arrest of a YouTuber, Salashor Kamrak, and his colleagues by the Taliban from western Kabul in Afghanistan. The arrest assumes significance as the YouTube channel associated with the detained focus on issues of minority, women and cultural affairs in Afghanistan.
- These arrests are among the latest in the Taliban’s crackdown on free expression.
- Sources have stated that the Taliban members raided Kamrak’s residence in Dawazda Imam township in District 13 of Kabul.
- During the raid, they manhandled Kamrak and his team and then detained them.
- Sources are now stating that the detained have been transferred to an unknown location.
- Salahshor Kamrak is a resident of Jaghori district of Ghazni province, who had moved to Kabul recently.
- Before his detention, Kamrak had published social media vlogs on a YouTube channel called Manji Studio.
Why it matters? Most of the videos on the YouTube channel seem to depict the life of Hazaras, an ethnic minority in the country. Hazaras have long been persecuted by the Taliban and have faced severe repercussions when the group came to power in August 2021.
- In some of the videos, the issues of Afghan women too have been highlighted and they can be seen maintaining the full Hijab as mandated by the Taliban.
- The reason for the arrest of a YouTuber highlighting the struggle of Hazaras brings the Taliban and its alleged “tolerance policy” under the spotlight.
Zoom out: Ever since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in August last year, they have imposed hard censorship on media. Even, common citizens who use YouTube as a medium to portray their views are being reprimanded by the Taliban.
- Earlier in June this year, the Taliban had arrested and tortured YouTuber Ajmal Haqiqi, along with other three people. Reportedly, the Taliban tortured them by brutally beating them with rods and filmed it “for fun” – which then went viral on social media.
- Taliban had said that they had arrested them for allegedly “disrespecting” Islam and the Quran.