Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
January 9, 2021
KABUL– Afghan forces have arrested three people in connection with the December killing of prominent election activist Yusuf Rasheed.
Kabul police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz did not give the names of the three arrested or say if they belonged to any group in comments to RFE/RL on January 9.
Faramarz said the case was under investigation by security forces and that details would be shared when the investigation is completed.
Rasheed, who headed the independent Free and Fair Election Forum Of Afghanistan (FEFA), was slain along with his driver after unknown gunmen fired on his vehicle in a southern district of the capital on the morning of December 23.
Rasheed was on his way to participate in the inauguration of a peace advocacy group in Kabul when the vehicle he was riding in was ambushed.
It was one of several recent targeted attacks on journalists, activists, and politicians that have drawn condemnation from the United Nations and Afghan and foreign officials.
No militant group has taken responsibility for Rasheed’s assassination.
The extremist Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for multiple deadly incidents in recent months, however, including attacks on educational institutions that killed 50 people, most of them students.
Rasheed’s killing came just days after Rahmatullah Nikzad, a freelance reporter and head of a media-safety union in the central Ghazni Province, was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in the province.
On December 24, the day after Rasheed’s death, social and political activist Freshta Kohistani was slain in a village in Kapisa Province, northeast of Kabul.
On November 12, RFE/RL reporter Ilyas Dayee was assassinated in Helmand Province when a magnetic bomb attached to his vehicle exploded. Afghan security officials claimed to have arrested a man suspected of involvement in Dayee’s killing and released a video of the suspect’s confession on December 11.
The targeted killings of prominent figures have come despite ongoing efforts between government negotiators and the Taliban to try put an end to decades of war in Afghanistan.
After a 20-day break in the negotiations, representatives of the government and the Taliban met in Qatar on January 6 for preliminary talks aimed at starting a second round of peace talks.
A spokesman for the Afghan National Reconciliation Council has said that negotiators are scheduled to hold their first session with the Taliban on January 9.
With reporting by AFP and CNN