The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Afghan Independent Journalists’ Association (AIJA) have strongly condemn the attacks on media workers in Nangarhar province and call for urgent measures to rectify the deplorable safety situation for media workers in the country.
Three female journalists from Enikass TV were shot dead by unknown gunmen in two separate attacks as they attempted to return home from work on March 2.
The IFJ in a press release on Wednesday said the killing of female media workers Mursal Wahidi, Sadia Sadat, and Shahnaz Roafi ahead of International Women Day on March 8 was particularly painful, while calling for regional solidarity.
The AIJA said: “AIJA condemns the killing and terms the attack as an attack against freedom of speech and humanity. AIJA believes that the Afghan forces’ negligence regarding the assassinations led to the increased attacks on journalist and media workers.”
The IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said:“The IFJ is alarmed by the brutal nature of these pre-meditated killings. Women journalists contend with multiple layers of threat and obstacles to their participation in the media without the threat of losing their lives on their way home from work. The Afghanistan government must intensify its efforts to protect journalists who literally risk their lives to keep the country informed.”
Mursal Wahidi, Sadia Sadat, and Shahnaz Roafi, who all worked in Enikass TV’s dubbing division, were gunned down in different locations in the eastern city of Jalalabad, in Nangarhār province.
Saadia and Shahnaz were the first to be shot in Jalalabad police district one (PD1) around 4 pm, while Mursal Habibi was killed in police district four (PD4) within minutes of that attack.
“The triple murder is the latest in a string of targeted attacks on media workers which is happening on the backdrop of US-brokered attempts to negotiate an end to the country’s civil war,” the press release said.
Ekinass had earlier informed Afghanistan’snational intelligence agency about threats to its staff, but had no information of threats directed at particular employees.
On December 10, 2020, Malala Maiwand, a female TV anchor for Enikass TV and Radio, was also killed by gunmen in Nangarhar.
The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the shooting, terming her a “pro-regime” journalist.