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"Terrible day for Afghan media" as 10 journalists killed in Afghanistan

1 May 2018

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the Afghanistan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) in strongly condemning the killings of journalists and demanded urgent action from the Afghan government to punish those responsible.

According to reports nine journalists were killed in Kabul, Afghanistan in back-to-back suicide attacks, the second of which targeted the journalists yesterday.

The two suicide attacks hit central Kabul, on 30 April. The first bomb was detonated by an assailant on a motorcycle and the second was detonated 20 minutes later among those who had come to rescue and report on those targeted in the first attack.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) chief photographer Kabul Shah Marai, Tolo News cameraman Yar Mohammad Tokhi, Radio Azadi correspondents Abadullah Hananzai, Moharram Durrani and Sabawoon Kakar, 1TV reporter Ghazi Rasooli and cameraman Nowroz Ali Rajabi, Mashal TV reporter Salim Talash and cameraman Ali Salimi were killed in the second blast when a suicide bomber disguised as a journalist detonated himself.

In a separate incident, unknown gunmen killed Ahmad Shah, a journalist with BBC Afghan service, on 30 April in Khost province, eastern Afghanistan.

According to media reports, two unknown armed men riding on a motorcycle shot Shah dead while he was on his way home at around 4pm. The reason behind the killing was not immediately clear and no group has taken responsibility for the attack. 

A statement from BBC world service said:

"It is with great sadness that the BBC can confirm the death of BBC Afghan reporter Ahmad Shah following an attack earlier today. The attack took place in Khost province. Ahmad Shah was 29. He had worked for the BBC Afghan service for more than a year and had already established himself as a highly capable journalist who was a respected and popular member of the team. This is a devastating loss."

At least 29 people were killed and dozens of others - including two journalists - were injured in the twin suicide blasts that took place in Shashdarak area, near the headquarters of the Afghan intelligence services.

The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said:

"This is a terrible day for journalists all over the world – we have lost colleagues in a targeted suicide bombing. The journalists were on duty to report on the earlier attack, simply informing the public. The IFJ strongly condemns the killings and demands urgent action from the government to ensure justice for the slain journalists. This act of terrorism targeting journalists also shows that Afghanistan, despite being the world’s most dangerous country for journalists for many years, has not done enough to ensure the safety of journalists.
"The killing of journalist Ahmad Shah in Khost, Afghanistan, adds more misery to an already terrible day for the Afghan media community. Today, we lost 10 journalists in the line of duty, making it the deadliest day for journalism in the country. The IFJ strongly condemns the killing of journalist Shah and demands urgent action from the authorities to arrest and punish the killers.
"The reigning impunity for those committing crimes against journalists and the government’s lack of concrete action to protect journalists are key causes of increased violence against journalists in Afghanistan. The IFJ urges Afghan government to urgently take drastic action to ensure the safety of journalists and justice to slain journalists."

Tags: , afghan independent journalists association, afghanistan, journalists killed, journalist safety, journalists attacked, ifj, bbc, bbc world service