SPONSORED:

Fifth journalist in two months killed in Afghanistan

Fifth journalist in two months killed in Afghanistan
© Getty Images

Unidentified gunmen have shot and killed an Afghan journalist, a local spokesperson said Friday, the fifth journalist to be killed in the country in the past two months. 

According to The Associated Press, Bismillah Adil Aimaq was driving near Feroz Koh, the provincial capital of Ghor, traveling home after a visit with family in a nearby village. 

Arif Abir, the governor’s spokesman, said that gunmen then opened fire on the vehicle, killing Aimaq. Abir added that others that others in the vehicle, including Aimaq’s brother, were unharmed in the attack. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The AP reported that no group has claimed responsibility, and a spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied that its members were involved. 

Aimaq, who was also known as a human rights activist, worked as the head of the local Radio Sada-e-Ghor station. 

The killing follows the death last week of the leader of the Ghazni province’s journalist union, Rahmatullah Nekzad. The AP reported that he was attacked outside his home by a group of armed men. 

Nekzad had contributed reporting to the AP since 2007, and also previously worked for Al Jazeera. 

In December, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of Afghan anchorwoman Malala Maiwand, who was shot as she left her home in the Nangarhar province. 

Maiwand’s death was preceded by the killings of two Afghan journalists in separate bombings. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Reporters Without Borders this week listed Afghanistan among the top five deadliest countries for journalists in 2020, along with Mexico, Iraq, Pakistan and India. 

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission this week said the recent deaths mark an increased trend in the targeting of Afghan journalists, which the group said has led to self-censorship among local media. 

The violence has continued even amid peace negotiations that began in September between the Taliban and the Kabul government, though the talks have been suspended until this month. 

Reporters Without Borders found this week that more journalists around the world were killed outside of war zones in 2020, with the majority deliberately targeted. 

Of the 50 journalists killed last year, 34 were in countries that were not involved in armed conflict. The number of journalists killed outside of war zones surpassed those in conflict areas starting in 2016.

The 2020 report also found that 42 journalists were deliberately targeted in connection to their work. Those journalists were investigating organized crime groups, corruption and topics linked to environmental issues such as illegal mining or land-grabbing.