In Afghanistan, gunmen attack Pajhwok News journalist

Unidentified gunmen fired shots at Azizullah Hamdard, a reporter for the independent Kabul-based Pajhwok News agency on August 2, 2014, according to news reports. The attack took place near the journalist’s home in Kabul, the capital. The gunmen fled the scene immediately. Hamdard sought treatment at a local hospital for injuries to his left arm.

No one was immediately arrested in connection with the attack. Police said they were investigating, Danish Karokhel, director and editor-in-chief at Pajhwok News, told CPJ.

Hamdard had reported on politics and crime for Pajhwok. He said he suspected the attack was related to his journalistic work because he had reported on fraud during the presidential elections, including a shortage of ballots and ineligible voters, according to reports. He said that he had also been made to leave the polling stations while he was reporting.

It was not immediately clear if the attack was related to Hamdard’s work, Karokhel told CPJ. Karokhel said no prior threats were made against Hamdard prior to the attack.

Media organizations have repeatedly voiced concern about the safety of journalists in Afghanistan, especially during the presidential elections, when tensions have run high and journalists are often harassed. On August 10, 2014, two local cameramen for the Kabul-based TV stations Rahe Farda and Khorshid were beaten by election observers at the Independent Election Commission head office in Kabul, reports said.