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The Guardian, April 30, 2018

Afghanistan: the 10 journalists who died in deadly day for media

Nine killed while reporting on Kabul bombings, while BBC reporter shot dead in Khost province

By Saeed Kamali Dehghan


Nine journalists were killed in a secondary blast in Kabul on Apr. 30, 2018
Nine journalists were killed in a secondary blast in Kabul on Apr. 30, 2018.
Top row, left to right: Yar Mohammad Tokhi from Tolo News, Maharram Durrani, Sabawoon Kakar, Abadullah Hananzai all from RFE/RL.
Bottom row, left to right: Ghazi Rasooli and Nowroz Ali Rajabi from 1TV, Shah Marai from AFP, Salim Talash and Ali Salimi both from Mashal TV. (Photo: TOLOnews.com)

Nine journalists were among at least 25 people killed in twin bombings in Kabul on Monday. One BBC journalist was also killed in a separate incident in the eastern province of Khost, making it the deadliest day for media workers in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Among the dead were:

Shah Marai, Agence France-Press

Agence France-Presse chief photographer Shah Marai died in a blast that killed at least 25 people
Agence France-Presse chief photographer Shah Marai died in a blast that killed at least 25 people. (Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Marai, who came from the Shamali Plain in northern Kabul, was a veteran chief photographer with the Agence France-Presse news agency in Afghanistan. He had worked with the agency since 1996, first as a driver and later as a fixer, before becoming a full-time photographer in 2002. Marai had chronicled the fall of Taliban in 2011.

“This tragedy reminds us of the danger that our teams continually face on the ground and the essential role journalists play for democracy,” said Fabrice Fries, the CEO of AFP.

AFP reported that Marai’s camaraderie was demonstrated in a message he sent moments before Monday’s second Kabul bombing, in which he had reassured a video colleague who could not reach the scene. “No worry man, I am here,” he said by WhatsApp, adding that he was shooting video in addition to taking photos.

He leaves behind six children, including a new-born daughter.

Yar Mohammad Tokhi, Tolo News

Tokhi was a 54-year-old cameraman who was due to marry his fiance in less than a month. Described by his colleagues as one of the most dedicated and hardworking staff in his organisation, he had worked for Afghanistan’s Tolo News and Tolo TV for 12 years. Tokhi’s death leaves his ailing mother and unmarried sister, who has cancer and relied on him for help, extremely vulnerable.

“The family lived in a rented house in Darul Aman in Kabul. Tokhi was the only breadwinner in his family and according to his relatives, he spent a large part of his salary every month on medication and doctors’ bills for both his mother and his sister,” Tolo News said.

A day before his death, Tokhi had been looking around with his fiance to find a wedding hall for their upcoming marriage ceremony.

Ahmad Shah, BBC Afghan service

Ahmad Shah from BBC shot dead in Afghan province of Khost
Ahmad Shah (Photo: BBC)

Shah was a 29-year-old reporter with the BBC in Afghanistan who was killed in eastern Khost province, near the border with Pakistan. Tolo News said he was shot dead by unknown armed men. He had worked for the BBC Afghan service for more than a year, the BBC said, describing him as having “already established himself as a highly capable journalist who was a respected and popular member of the team”.

Maharram Durrani, RFE/RL

The 28-year-old journalist had barely started working for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL). She was due to begin her work in mid-May and was on her way to the media organisation’s office for training when the attack took place, according to RFE/RL.

Abadullah Hananzai, RFE/RL

Hananzai, 26, was a journalist and video cameraman who had focused on the country’s anti-narcotics programme.

Sabawoon Kakar, RFE/RL

Kakar was a 30-year-old journalist and member of RFE/RL’s video team for the past five years.

There was little information available about the four other journalists killed on Monday, apart from their names and the organisations they worked for. Ghazi Rasuli was a reporter with 1TV, and Nawruz Ali Rajabi a cameraman with the same organisation. Salim Talash and Ali Salimi both worked for Mashal TV.

WARNING: Graphic content below.


Twin blasts in Kabul killed ten journalists and dozens others on Apr 30, 2018
Journalists and others responding to the first blast in Kabul were caught as victims in the second in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 30, 2018. Government and diplomatic offices are heavily present in the area. (Photo: Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

Twin blasts in Kabul killed ten journalists and dozens others on Apr 30, 2018
The second explosion targeted those at the scene of the first in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 30, 2018. (Photo: BBC)

Twin blasts in Kabul killed ten journalists and dozens others on Apr 30, 2018
A man cries at a hospital after he lost his journalist son in explosions in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 30, 2018. (Photo: AP)

Twin blasts in Kabul killed ten journalists and dozens others on Apr 30, 2018
Afghan security forces are seen at the site of a second blast in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018. (Photo: Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

Category: Taliban/ISIS/Terrorism, HR Violations - Views: 398


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