Pajhwok Afghan News agency targeted in bomb blast

New York, June 11, 2015–The Committee to Protect Journalists is greatly concerned by a bomb attack on the Pajhwok Afghan News agency’s Jalalabad office in Nangahar province on Wednesday night. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to media reports.

“We call for the Nangahar government to fully investigate this attack. Afghan journalists play an important role in their country’s burgeoning democracy and must be protected,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “At the same time, given the level of impunity with which such attacks occur, we also remind Afghan journalists to maintain their own high standards of security.”

The agency’s editor-in-chief, Danish Karokhel, said Pajhwok has been the frequent target of threats before. But, “I think there are more threats than in the past,” he told CPJ in an email message shortly after the explosion.

There were no fatalities. Four people were injured, none of them Pajhwok staff, the agency reported. Two were visiting the nearby offices of U.S. broadcaster Voice of America, while two others were in nearby shops. The agency said some of its equipment was damaged.

Karokhel was honored with CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award in 2008, in recognition for his leadership at Pajhwok. The agency has grown to be one of the most important news sources in Afghanistan.