Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has urged the United Nations to take urgent measures to rein in the growing violence against journalists in Afghanistan and provide them with protection after three young women employees of Enekaas TV, a local channel, were gunned down in the Jalalabad city of Nangarhar province on Tuesday.
“We deplore and condemn these latest murders of media workers in Afghanistan,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk.
“The country must end these terrible crimes. Concrete measures must be taken urgently to curb the growing violence against journalists and provide them with protection.”
Moini added: “We urge the Afghan authorities to conduct a proper investigation and we urge the international community, including the US, French and German embassies in Afghanistan, to support RSF’s call to the International Criminal Court prosecutor to include these crimes in her investigation into the dramatic situation for journalists in this country.”
Sadida Sadat and Shahnaz Roufi, who worked for Enekaas TV’s dubbing service, were gunned down in a Jalalabad alley as they were walking home at around 4:30 pm. Their colleague, Mursal Waheedi, was shot in the rickshaw she had taken to go home. All three women were aged 20 or 21.
The Taliban have denied any role in the triple murder, which was claimed by Islamic State. The Jalalabad police later announced the arrest of two suspects.
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Enekaas TV anchor Malalai Maywand, who was also the Jalalabad representative of the Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists (CPAWJ), and her driver, Taher Khan, were gunned down in similar circumstances three months ago.
One year after the Taliban and the United States signed a peace agreement in February 2020 and five months after the Taliban and the Afghan government began peace talks in September, the press freedom situation in Afghanistan is disastrous. At least nine journalists and media workers have been killed in targeted attacks since the end of 2020.
Afghanistan’s journalists sent a joint letter to the UN Security Council on 18 November 2020 voicing alarm about the threats and violence to which they are being subjected and urging the Council to take decisive action.
Afghanistan is ranked 122nd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index.