New York, June 2, 2020 — Afghan authorities should conduct a swift and transparent investigation into the killing of journalist Mir Wahed Shah and media worker Shafiq Amiri, and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On the evening of May 30, a bomb exploded in Kabul, killing Shah, an economics reporter with privately owned broadcaster Khurshid TV, and Amiri, a technician with the broadcaster, and injuring at least six other employees of the news organization, according to news reports.
The Khurshid TV staffers were among 15 employees in a van at the time of the explosion, according to those reports. Abdul Mujeeb Khalvatgar, director of Nai, a local press advocacy group, told CPJ via email that it was unclear whether the explosion was caused by a roadside bomb or a device attached to the vehicle.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters.
“Afghanistan authorities must thoroughly investigate the horrific attack on Khurshid TV, find the perpetrators, and hold them to account,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “Mir Wahed Shah and Shafiq Amiri were killed while bravely working to bring the news to the people of Afghanistan; authorities must work harder to ensure that the press can do their jobs freely and safely.”
At least two of the injured Khurshid TV employees are in serious condition as of today, Rustam Betanai, a news reporter at the station, told CPJ over the phone.
Khurshid TV editor Rafi Seddiqi told TOLO News that the broadcaster had not received any recent threats.
In a statement on an Islamic State-affiliated website, the group said the station was “loyal to the Afghan apostate government,” according to Al-Jazeera.
Marwa Amini, an Interior Ministry spokesperson, said authorities believe the van was specifically targeted, according to that report. CPJ contacted the ministry via messaging app for comment, but did not immediately receive any response.
Afghanistan continues to be one of the most dangerous places for journalists to report, according to CPJ research.