Ajmal Naqshbandi and Daniel Mastrogiacomo, an Italian citizen, were reporting in Helmand province when they were detained by Taliban. Afghan government released five Talib prisoners for Daniel ransom, but Ajmal was forgotten in Taliban graze. Inspired by Italian civil society and efforts of positions and opposition in light of their fruitful efforts for release of their compatriot; we are setting up a rally-tent next to the national assembly building on Wednesday March 28, the aim of the rally and tent-discussion is to attract support for release of Ajmal Naqshbandi. Journalists tent will remain in front of the parliament until Ajmal is released.
The concept behind choosing national assembly for the rally is to gather support of MPs to demand from the government to do more for Ajmal release, in the hope that we could avoid any hazard to Ajmal. In the face of Ajmal Naqshbandi not returning safely to his family, Afghan government would be facing a major political mistake. Public reluctance has expanded largely, Afghans are gradually joining other political structures, most of whom were abandoned and decadent such as Taliban and warlords. Support of National Assembly for the release of Ajmal is a sign of the parliament valuing the life of its citizens. Now is the time to demonstrate a political value so we could avoid further national and international grievances. We have two concerns: we are disturbed that five Taliban leaders have been released by Afghan government in exchange for a foreign reporter, although we are happy that Mr. Daniel Mastrogiacomo has returned home safely. Secondly, the life of an Afghan journalist was not taken into account, and that freedom of information is not supported in Afghanistan. Daniel is released as a result of his respective government attempts, it reveals the power of citizen-state and support for freedom of expression, the fact Ajmal stays in custody is an evidence of lack of support from Afghan government to protect journalists while it’s obliged by law. We warn if the situation continues like this Afghanistan is fast-becoming a “no-go” area for news media.
A spokesperson for Romano Prodi, Italian prime minister after the release of Mr. Mastrogiacomo said “person life is very precious for us. Mastrogiacomo was released in this line, nothing more” Although this is the official statement of Italian government but once again we can see that politics is a secret game; euphemism and hypocrisy clouds the truth. If really human life mattered for the Italian government, then why Ajmal was left in the “merciful” hands of Taliban? This is when we know Taliban style mercy. When Ajmal, Daniel and the driver were detained by Taliban, the Taliban made Daniel watch the decapitation of his driver. If individual life mattered to Italian government why would they release people who promise to kill more people and have done it? We appreciate the rally of Italians in support of Ajmal but we are sad that Mr. Mastrogiacomo hasn’t publicly appealed for Ajmal’s release. We are also troubled by quotes associated to him in media, on his release he supposedly said “today is the happiest day of my life” how could it be while your colleague is in custody and your driver is dead.
Taliban behavior is against their apparent slogans and values. Taliban on one hand declare Jihad against unbelievers and foreign invaders, but in practice they negotiate with them while they keep their compatriot in captivity or kill brutally. Media is one of Taliban’s essentials for some Afghans and international community Taliban presence is not very tangible, their actions and aims are only projected by media. Media and journalists to cover all angles of a story they travel to Taliban controlled areas. Now that Taliban are holding an Afghan reporter prisoner who has traveled many times to Helmand province is a questions, there are a lot of speculations and debate in media about what really happened and why is Ajmal in captivity, these debates questions the fundamentals of international community, Taliban and Afghan government.