'Hope Has Vanished': Veteran Photojournalist Is Killed in Kabul

Tuesday, 01 May, 2018

While the Taliban have carried out numerous deadly attacks, they have also provided governance in the areas under their control, and some Afghans may prefer them to the corruption-riddled government in Kabul.

The second explosion came minutes after the first at targeted reporters at the scene, police spokesman Kabul Hashmat Stanikzai told AFP.

Shah Marai of Agence France Presse was among a group of journalists who died when a bomber disguised as a TV cameraman detonated a second bomb at the site of an earlier explosion.

News Afghan journalist Ahmad Shah, 29, was shot to death while riding his bicycle in Khost province.

Hours after the attack in Kabul, a vehicle borne suicide bomber attacked a foreign military convoy in the southern province of Kandahar, killing 11 children studying in a nearby religious school, police said.

Sediqullah Tawhidi, an official from the Afghan Journalist Safety Committee, said a cameraman from the local Tolo TV also was killed.

The twin blasts came little more than a week after an April 22 suicide blast claimed by IS that killed 60 people at a voter registration center in Kabul.

The uptick in violence comes despite reports around six weeks ago that suggested some factions of the Taliban had expressed interested in pursuing peace talks with the Afghan government. The second attacker then detonated his explosives while still among the reporters, according to police.

The reporters had arrived to cover the initial blast in the Shashdarak area close to buildings of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence service and near to the US embassy.

A coordinated double suicide bombing by the Islamic State group hit central Kabul this morning, killing at least 25 people, including eight journalists, officials said.

According to the media outlet, the Taliban radical movement said it was not responsible for the shooting. The group, also known by its French acronym RSF, said 36 media workers have been killed in Afghanistan in attacks by IS or the Taliban since 2016.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the families, friends, and colleagues of all the victims, including a number of courageous journalists among the dead and injured", it said, adding that "where media are in danger, all other human rights are under greater threat". Last week, six people, including two Afghan soldiers, were killed when a auto bomb exploded in Afghanistan's Helmand province. "Life seems to be even more hard than under the Taliban because of the insecurity", Marai wrote.

Taliban militants, fighting to restore their version of strict Islamic law to Afghanistan, announced their usual spring offensive last week and there has been heavy fighting in several areas of the country since.

"I've seen them work and trust me, the colleagues of the dead will be back to cover the next horrendous attack #pressfreedom", journalist Sune Engel Rasmussen, who formerly reported for the Guardian newspaper in Kabul, tweeted in response to Monday's blasts.