New York, January 20, 2016–A suicide bombing in Kabul today killed seven employees from the Afghan station Tolo TV, according to news reports and the station. The attack on staff returning from work at the privately owned station injured 27 others, including 26 staff, according to Tolo TV. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. In October, CPJ documented how a Taliban website threatened journalists associated with Tolo TV and the Afghan broadcaster 1TV with “elimination.”
“Attacks aimed at crushing independent media organizations in Afghanistan are a direct assault on the very foundation of Afghan democracy–a free and open press,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Today’s killings not only underscore the vulnerability of the media in the country, but the fragility of Afghan security under which the media must operate. We call on the government to seek out and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime as quickly as possible.”
According to media reports, a Toyota sedan, apparently laden with explosives, neared the company minibus on Wednesday evening. Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told American broadcaster NBC News that four of the seven dead were women. Tolo TV reported that those attacked worked for its Kaboora Production company, which produces local programming including television commercials for private and government clients, music video clips, scriptwriting, graphic design, equipment hire, and event planning.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This statement has been updated to reflect the number of Tolo TV workers killed in the attack.