Afghanistan: Leading Afghan female journalist gunned down

11th Dec 2020
Afghanistan: Leading Afghan female journalist gunned down

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA): A leading Afghan female journalist was gunned down by unknown assailants in eastern Nangarhar province on Thursday, officials confirmed.

The incident took place when Malalai Maiwand of the local Enekas radio and TV network was heading to her office in a vehicle along with her driver in the provincial capital Jalalabad.

The attackers opened fire on Maiwand and her driver, Mohammad Tahir, shortly after she left her house in eastern Nangarhar province.

Both Maiwand and her driver died on the spot, while armed attackers fled the site of the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Attaullah Khogyani, the governor’s spokesman, told Anadolu Agency the incident took place during the morning rush-hour.

“We have launched our investigations into [the killing]”, he added.

Maiwand advocated for the rights of Afghan women and children. Maiwand’s mother, who was also an activist, was also killed by unknown gunmen five years ago.

Sami Patmen, one of Maiwand’s former colleague, expressed grief over the attack and said the targeted killing of the journalist has sent shockwaves across the fraternity in the war-ridden country.

“The journalists, especially female, were already terrified due to the prevailing insecurity, and now with her martyrdom, they would find extremely hard to come out of their home and work,” he told Anadolu Agency.

The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, a group that oversees journalists’ security in the country tweeted:

#AJSC strongly condemns the killing of another media worker and calls on the #government to seriously investigate the case and ensure prosecution of perpetrators.”

The murder of Maiwand comes just weeks after Radio Liberty reporter Aliyas Dayee was killed in a car bomb attack in Lashkar Gah.

The attack, third of its kind in a month, has been widely condemned by the Afghan government, journalist fraternity and representatives of the international community in Kabul.

Last month, a leading journalist was gunned down in southern Helmand province while a Kabul-based journalist lost his life to a magnetic bomb attached to his car in the capital.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani dubbed the killing of Malalai Maiwand as “inhumane and unforgivable” act.

“The followers of ignorance and brutality cannot silence and undermine the freedom of expression, which is an inalienable right of Afghans under the clear provisions of the constitution, with such brazen attacks”, he said in a statement.

[Photo: People attend the funeral ceremony of Malalai Maiwand, a journalist at Enikass Radio and TV in Nangarhar, after she was killed along with her driver in an attack on their vehicle in Jalalabad, capital of the eastern province of Nangarhar, on December 10, 2020. Photographer: Wali Sabawoon/AA]

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