RFE/RL’s Radio Azadi
August 9, 2021
Suspected Taliban gunmen shot and killed an Afghan radio station manager in Kabul and kidnapped a journalist in southern Helmand Province, officials said, the latest in a long line of attacks targeting media workers.
Gunmen shot Toofan Omar, the Paktia Ghag radio manager who was also an officer for NAI, a support group for independent media in Afghanistan, in a targeted assassination in the capital on August 8.
“Omari was killed by unidentified gunmen…he was a liberal man…we are being targeted for working independently,” said Mujeeb Khelwatgar, the head of NAI.
Khelwatgar also said it wasn’t immediately clear whether Omar’s assassination was linked to his activities at the radio station or at the NAI.
No group claimed responsibility for the killing, but officials in Kabul suspected Taliban fighters had carried out the attack.
Last month the NAI said at least 30 Afghan journalists and media workers have been killed, wounded, or abducted by militant groups this year.
In Helmand Province, officials said Taliban fighters had seized a local journalist, Nematullah Hemat, from his home in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, on August 8.
“There is just absolutely no clue where the Taliban have taken Hemat…we are really in a state of panic, said Razwan Miakhel, head of private TV channel, Gharghasht TV where Hemat was employed.
A coalition of Afghan news organizations has written to U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders in the House of Representatives, urging them to grant special immigration visas to Afghan journalists and support staff.
With reporting by Reuters