Deadliest day for Afghan journalists, 10 killed

Policemen help Afghan journalists victims of a second blast in Kabul Afghanistan
Policemen help Afghan journalists victims of a second blast in Kabul Afghanistan
Author

01 May, 2018

Although the AJSC's estimates are much higher ― it says at least 80 journalists and media workers have died since 2001 ― it acknowledged that the recent attacks made it the country's deadliest day for journalists.

It came after two suicide blasts ripped through Kabul in the morning and killed at least 25 people, including Agence France-Presse chief photographer for Afghanistan Shah Marai and eight other journalists.

Hours after the attack in Kabul, a suicide bomber in a vehicle attacked a foreign military convoy in the southern province of Kandahar, killing 11 children studying in a nearby religious school, police said. Eight journalists were killed in the follow-up attack, including famed AFP photographer Shah Marai.

Islamic State and Taliban regularly carry out attacks in the Afghan capital although neither have claimed responsibility for these latest bombings at the time of reporting. Since January 2015, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been conducting the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan aimed at training and assisting Afghan security forces.

The journalists, including a female correspondent, all Afghan nationals, were killed in the second blast in Kabul as they waited by a security cordon, several hundred meters away from the site of the first one.

Afghan spokesman confirms five journalists for local media killed along with AFP photographer in the attack.

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"This is a devastating loss and I send my honest condolences to Ahmad Shah's friends and family and the whole BBC News Afghan team", he said. It said nine journalists had been killed in three separate attacks.

Seven of the journalists were from Afghan outlets: two reporters from the Mashal TV, a cameraman and a reporter working for 1TV, two reporters from Radio Azadi and one from Tolo News, the AFJSC said.

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"When the explosion happened, everywhere was covered with dust and fire, it was such a horrific scene", said Jawed Ghulam Sakhi, a 28-year-old taxi driver.

RSF urged the Afghan government to do more to protect journalists.

"I don't know who is responsible for all these attacks".

In the eastern Nangarhar province, an explosion killed an Afghan police officer and wounded four other people, said Attuhullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

President Ashraf Ghani's government is under pressure on multiple fronts this year as it prepares to hold October's long-delayed elections while its security forces struggle to get the upper hand on the battlefield and prevent civilian casualties. Both groups want to establish strict Islamic rule in Afghanistan.

And the month before, an IS suicide bomber targeted a Shiite shrine in Kabul where people had gathered celebrating the Persian new year. In all, the twin bombings killed 29 people and injured at least 45, mostly civilians.


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