Afghanistan: CPJ calls for probe into death of two German journalists

New York, October 10, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in Afghanistan to intensify their investigation into the shooting deaths of two journalists working for German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.

Germans Karen Fischer, 30, and Christian Struwe, 39, were killed Saturday in the tent they had pitched near a road in northern Afghanistan. The motive for the killings is not clear, according to the Interior Ministry, which is conducting the investigation.

Fischer and Struwe were shot near Baghlan, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) northwest of Kabul, by unidentified assailants. Deutsche Welle said the two had recently visited several United Nations Children’s Fund projects in northern Afghanistan and were en route to the central province of Bamiyan.

The area, considered safer than other regions of the country, is still poorly controlled by the government and NATO forces now in charge of providing security throughout Afghanistan. Media reports said suspicions about the motivation for their shootings were heightened when it appeared that the pair’s personal possessions were not taken.

“We mourn the loss of Karen Fischer and Christian Struwe and send our condolences to their families and colleagues,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director. “We call on the authorities to investigate their murder thoroughly and promptly, and to ensure that their names are not simply added to the growing catalog of unsolved murders in Afghanistan.”