White House condemns 'heinous' Afghanistan journalist killings

04 May, 2018, 14:23 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Security forces from the Northern Alliance enter Kabul on November 13 2001

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday sought to temper media reports that the Pentagon has taken a more optimistic outlook on Afghanistan, a day after a pair of suicide bombings in Kabul killed at least 35 people, including 10 journalists. Other media victims include Mahram Durrani from Salam Watandar, Tolo News cameraman Yar Mohammad Tokhi, Mashal TV reporter Salim Talash, Mashal TV cameraman Ali Salimi, 1TV reporter Ghazi Rasouli, and 1TV cameraman Nowruz Ali.

An affiliate group of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has claimed credit for the recent attack, the deadliest single incident against journalists in Afghanistan since 2002. Radio Free Europe journalist Sabawoon Kakar later also succumbed to his wounds.

Meanwhile, media supporting organizations have said that the scale of casualties among journalists has dramatically increased under the national unity government compared to the previous government.

"They want them reported", Mattis said here.

Many journalists expressed determination to continue their work despite the threats. AFP sent a text reporter and a photographer from Moscow right away and before you knew it, there were a dozen of us. But we will not stop, we will continue. However at this time, fifteen years later, that hope has vanished and life appears to be even tougher than earlier than. "But we stand against such barbaric acts".

At least 45 people were wounded in the twin attacks, according to Kabul police spokesman, Hashmat Stanekzai, who also added that four policemen were among those killed. Last Wednesday, Abdul Hanan Arghand, a Kandahar-based journalist, was shot dead by unknown motorcycle riders in Kandahar. RSF said that since 2016, it has recorded the killings of 34 journalists in Afghanistan.

"There's a level of commitment inside (Afghan) media outlets".

"This is simply what they do: They murder innocent people".

But there are fears the repeated attacks on the media and the perception that militants are deliberately targeting them, will frighten some journalists into quitting.

The Washington-based Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemned the attack, calling it "a reminder of the extreme dangers to media workers in that country" and "an assault on Afghan democracy".

"Since yesterday evening I have received a lot of phone calls asking me to quit, "please leave your job or it will take you from us", Hassani told AFP. "We're not there to stay forever, but the job comes first".

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