The Afghan journalists Amina Omid, Ahmad Shaker Sangi, Nimatullah Gholami, and Raifullah Nikzad, accompanied by the Chairman of the Board of AGK, Xhemajl Rexha, and the Legal Officer of ECPMF, Flutura Kusari, held a press conference today.

At the conference held at the AGK offices, the Afghan journalists expressed their gratitude for the support given by the government of the Republic of Kosovo and the readiness of ECPMF and AGK to help them.

"I thank the Government of Kosovo and the Association of Journalists of Kosovo for creating this opportunity for us to be in Kosovo and to continue our safe profession," said Omid, adding that she hopes that all Afghan journalists, especially girls and women, will live in complete freedom as they do in Kosovo.

As the journalist Ahmad Shaker said, many of his colleagues have been threatened with their lives and have been forced to flee to other countries.

"We have left Afghanistan in a dire situation; the media there are not free at all, and each media outlet has a representative of the Taliban who controls them." They have really created an unsafe situation because they do not accept any criticism of the government. Approximately 60 percent of the media have been closed, and journalists have left the state. "A part of those journalists have taken refuge in countries close to Afghanistan, but they are living a very poor life," he said.

Furthermore, the journalist Raifullah Nikzad said that he is very happy to be in Kosovo, but at the same time he is very worried about his family that remained in Kabul.

"From the media and journalists of Kosovo, I ask you to deal more with the situation in Afghanistan and their colleagues there, to help them exercise their profession freely," said Nikzad.

The chairman of the AGK Board, Xhemajl Rexha, expressed his happiness for the help given by the state for housing Afghan journalists in Kosovo, and he also thanked his colleagues for their solidarity with them.

"AGK is very happy to help shelter Afghan journalists who have been forced to flee their country due to the political situation. "I am grateful for the solidarity of the journalistic community with them, and we will do everything we can to ensure they continue to do their work as journalists in a safe environment."

Flutura Kusari, the Legal Officer at ECPMF, while explaining the program and its benefits, said that everything would be done for our Afghan colleagues to continue their work as journalists.

"Our house is their house." "We will do everything possible so that they do a good job and continue their work as journalists," said Kusari.

The Afghan journalists were welcomed in Kosovo a month after the government's decision to accommodate them, within the "Journalists in Residence -- Kosovo" program, which is initiated by ECPMF, financed by the government of Kosovo, and generously supported by the Hannah Arendt Initiative.

Journalists will be provided with accommodation, a monthly salary, health insurance, and a return ticket when the circumstances are created for them to return to their homes.

Reporter: Hameedullah Ghafoori 

Photo: AGK