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Journalist among the victims of deadly Kabul suicide attack

August 17, 2018

Kabul: A young journalist from local Farhang News Agency is among at least 48 victims of deadly Kabul education center attack on Wednesday August 15,  the News agency has confirmed.

The suicide attack, claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, is the latest deadly assaults on the Afghan civilian in Kabul and has spurred an outpouring of grief among journalists, many of whom took to social media to post tributes to their colleague.

Kabul police said the suicide bomber walked into the building of “ Mowud”,  an education center in Dasht- Barchi area of Kabul city while teaching was under way, detonated his bomb belt and killed at least 48 teenagers and injured dozens others studying for university entrance exams.

Among the victims of the suicide bombing were twins Ataullah Rahimi Wasi and Farzana. Ataullah 18, was hired as report for the Farhang News Agency five months ago, Fariba Mortazawi, editor in- chief of Farhang News Agency told AFJC

Ahmad Quraishi, executive director of Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) condemned the attack, saying in “this attack is a brazen assault and there was no justification whatsoever for targeting civilians, they must never be the target of violence at any time, under any circumstances."

"This is a devastating loss and I send my sincere condolences to Ataullah’s family and friends and the Farhang News Agency team.” Mr. Quraishi said.

This bloody attack comes less than a week after the Taliban launched a surprise deadly attack in the city of Ghazni, 148km south of Kabul. The Taliban killed dozens including Mohammad Dawood, a media technician for the state-run broadcaster Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) and destroyed the antennas and burned down building housing of some private media outlets.

 

'Great friend': AFP driver among 23 killed in Kabul suicide attack

July 23, 2018

Kabul--AFP driver Mohammad Akhtar, a 31-year-old father of four who was among 23 people killed in a suicide attack in Kabul, was a "great friend" known for his kindness and honesty, colleagues said Monday.

Sunday's attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group, happened as supporters of Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum were leaving the capital's international airport after welcoming home the former warlord from exile.

Akhtar's death comes less than three months after AFP's chief photographer in Afghanistan, Shah Marai, was killed in a bomb attack.

The April 30 blast in Kabul left 25 people dead, including Marai and eight other journalists.

The health ministry on Monday warned that the death toll from the airport attack, which left at least 107 people wounded, could rise.

Akhtar -- who was related to Marai -- leaves a wife and four children, the youngest only a few months old.

He was on his way to the AFP bureau to work the night shift and was changing public transport near the airport when the suicide bomber blew himself up. The attack was aimed at Dostum, but his armoured vehicle had already whisked him away.

Akhtar was the third member of the bureau to die in a militant attack since 2014, when reporter Sardar Ahmad was killed along with his wife and two of his children in a Taliban raid on a hotel.

"Once again our bureau in Kabul has suffered a devastating blow," said Michele Leridon, AFP Global News Director.

"All our thoughts are with Akhtar's family and his AFP colleagues who continue to do their jobs with professionalism and great courage."

Colleagues described Akhtar, who worked in the Kabul bureau for 11 years, as a "great friend" who was kind, calm and honest.

"He was soft-spoken, he was patient, he was very upfront," said AFP video journalist Rateb Noori.

"He never made a fuss. He kept a lot of things inside."

One thing he did express, however, was a penchant for swear words learnt from French colleagues, which he would deploy periodically, his striking eyes screwed up in laughter.

Afghan civilians have borne the brunt of the grinding conflict that began after the 2001 US-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime.

Militant attacks and suicide bombs were the leading causes of civilian deaths in the first half of 2018, a recent UN report showed.

The total number of civilians killed was 1,692, the highest number for the period since the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began keeping records in 2009.

Another 3,430 people were wounded, the report said. AFP

 

10 Journalists killed in one day in Afghanistan

April 30, 2018

Kabul—Suicide bombing kills 9 Afghan journalists and injuring 8 others in capital Kabul on Monday morning and hours later a journalist assassinated in southern khost city on his way to work, the deadliest day in Afghanistan journalism history.

Reports indicate a suicide bomber, posing as a journalist, detonated his explosives while standing among a group of reporters who had gathered to cover the first suicide attack took place in a heavily-fortified area of Kabul city.

Azadi Radio reporters Mahram Durrani, Ebadullah Hananzai and Sabawun Kakar, Mashal  TV reporter SalimTalash and cameraman Ali Salimi, 1TV reporter Ghazi Rasuli and cameraman Nauruz Ali Rajabi , AFP chief photographer Shah Marai and ToloNew TV cameraman Yar Mohammad Tokhi were killed in the attack.

IS (Daesh) claimed the responsibility. In an another tragic incident, hours later, unidentified gunmen shot dead BBC Pashto journalist, Ahmad Shah, in Southern Khost city.

These attacks come just six days after a local TV journalist was killed by unknown gunmen in Southern Kandahar city.

"We are shocked and saddened by the horrific violence perpetrated against our colleagues in Kabul and Khost –the deadliest day for Afghan media ; the journalists in Kabul were on duty to report about the earlier attack, simply informing the public.” said Afghanistan Journalists Center Executive Director Ahmad Quraishi

“Today was really a dark day for the Afghan media and we deeply shocked and saddened by this barbaric attacks, our thoughts and prayers are with innocent lives in the attacks” AFJC call on Afghan government to seek out and prosecute the perpetrators as quickly as possible, and also urge the International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council to investigate the incidents. Mr Quraishi added.

The sharp increase in violence in the country has been a big blow to freedom of press which is the biggest achievement of the people of Afghanistan after collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001.

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