Deadliest day for Afghan journalists, 10 killed

by Garry Watts May 1, 2018, 4:17
Deadliest day for Afghan journalists, 10 killed

Hundreds of people have been killed and wounded in a series of high-profile attacks in Kabul since the beginning of the year, despite President Ashraf Ghani's offer in February for peace talks "without preconditions".

At least 10 journalists were killed in Afghanistan on Monday, making it the deadliest day on record for those in the field covering the country's ongoing instability, according to rights groups.

The blasts took place in the central Shash Darak area, home to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters and a number of embassies and foreign offices - as well as the Afghan intelligence service.

Shortly afterwards, a second explosion tore through a group of reporters who had gathered at the site of the first incident outside the headquarters of the Ministry of Urban Development.

The second explosion was meant to hit those scrambling to get to the scene to help the victims of the first blast, he added.

The dead include news agency AFP's chief photographer in Afghanistan, Shah Marai, as well as several other journalists. The group, also known by its French acronym RSF, said 36 media workers have been killed in Afghanistan in attacks by IS or the Taliban since 2016. At least 16 people, including some North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops, were also wounded.

Another journalist, Ahmad Shah, who worked for the BBC, was killed in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, bringing the number of journalists killed to 10 people, in the deadliest day for the media in Afghanistan since the USA invasion in 2001.

ISIS had claimed the attack last week too. Like many Afghans, she has one name.

Survivors and witnesses recounted scenes of mayhem. He was taken by locals to hospital, where he died of his injuries. "Those who have organized and enabled these attacks must be brought to justice and held to account".

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In its statement on Twitter, the United Kingdom embassy said it "strongly condemns the attacks in Kabul today".

"I am furthermore outraged by the attack which appears to have deliberately targeted journalists", he said in a statement. He said police were investigating the motive. The statement did not say anything about specifically targeting journalists.

The 11 children who were killed were studying in a nearby madrassa, or religious school, said Matiullah Zhman, a spokesman for Kandahar police.

Eight members of the NATO-led Resolute Support coalition were also injured in the attack. The children had gathered around the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation convoy for fun when the bomber struck, said Abdul Rahim Ayubi, a lawmaker from Kandahar.

Meanwhile, another explosion took place in southern Afghanistan with 11 children being killed and more than a dozen others, including eight troops from Romania, nine civilians and two police officers being wounded.

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.

Daesh first appeared in Afghanistan three years ago.

Taliban has clarified that it would target Afghan and foreign security forces but would avoid civilian casualties.

The relentless assaults underscore the struggles that Afghan security forces have faced since the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014.

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