A former news anchor at Afghanistan's leading Tolo News was gunned down by unknown assassins in the restive southern Kandahar province on Thursday, officials confirmed.
Nemat Rawan was shot dead from close range as he was driving through the city, police spokesman Jamal Naser said.
There was no claim of responsibility for the killing of the prominent Afghan journalist just days after the country’s nascent journalist community expressed concerns on the World Press Freedom Day on Monday amid the surging targeted assassination spree.
“The journalists are terrified in the entire southern region of Afghanistan. I am certain that after such incidents the journalists would not be able to come out of their homes and offices to work in the field out of fear for their lives,” Abdul Sami, the slain journalist’s friend and a press freedom activist in Kandahar, told Anadolu Agency.
Nemat was a prominent news presenter for Tolo News’ Pashto section and recently joined the Afghan Finance Ministry as the director of press affairs. With no claim of responsibility for Nemat’s assasination, his uncle Dawa Khan blamed the Taliban for the killing.
However, the Taliban issued a statement rejecting involvement in the killing.
Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani condemned the killing, saying the terrorists cannot silence people’s voice with such atrocities.
“The group of Taliban must realize that the continuation of the war and violence against the people is not an Islamic, humane and reasonable solution, but could further complicate the situation and waste the opportunity for peace,” the president said in a statement.
Days before the killing of Nemat, the Taliban issued a warning to the Afghan journalists against “siding” with the government.
According to the Reporters Without Borders, press freedom is disastrous in Afghanistan 14 months after the Taliban and US signed a peace accord on Feb. 29, 2020, and eight months after the Taliban and Afghan government began peace talks.
At least 20 journalists and media workers have been the victims of targeted attacks in the past six months and eight, including four women, have been killed while around 30 others have received death threats in connection with their journalistic work since the peace deal.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.