Targeted killings to be discussed in talks

KABUL (Tolo News): Chief negotiator Masoom Stanekzai said the issue of targeted attacks on journalists is a serious matter and will be raised in the talks with the Taliban when they resume on January 5. “This is one of the serious issues that we need to raise and follow,” Stanekzai said.

Six journalists have been killed in various incidents in the country over the last two months. Bismillah Adil Aimaq, a journalist and civil society activist in Ghor, was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in the city of Feroz Koh, the center of the province, local officials said. Ghor governor’s spokesman Mohammad Aref Abir said that Adil was head of a local radio station, Radio Sada-e-Ghor, and was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in Dara-e-Taimoor village on the outskirts of Feroz Koh.

Abdi Jahid, a civil society activist from Baghlan was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in Bostan Street in Kabul’s PD17, police said. Police said the civil society activist was from Nahrin district in the northern province of Baghlan.

Meanwhile, Abdul Baqi, a tribal elder in Helmand was killed in an attack by unknown armed men in Lashkargah city, local officials said. “We witnessed the killing of several journalists here in Kabul and in the provinces. This issue has raised concerns among the Afghan media community,” said Reza Shaheer, a journalist in Kabul.

The National Directorate of Security released footage, claiming to have nabbed two suspects in connection with the killing of freelance journalist Rahmatullah Nekzad in Ghazni. According to NDS, the arrested suspects are Taliban members who were released among the 5,000 detainees of the group by the Afghan government as part of the US-Taliban peace agreement signed in Doha on February 29.

“The government is responsible to provide security to the public and this responsibility also involves the protection of journalists,” said Mohammad Reza Mohmand, a spokesman for the Ministry of Information and Culture. “Nekzad’s family wants the perpetrators to be arrested and the case is investigated thoroughly,” said Qasim Ghafoori, Nekzad’s cousin.