The car of journalist Elyas Dayee is seen after a bomb attack, which killed the reporter, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, on November 12, 2020 (AP/Abdul Khaliq)

Afghan RFE/RL journalist Elyas Dayee killed in car bomb attack

New York, November 12, 2020 — Afghan authorities must thoroughly investigate the car bomb attack that killed reporter Elyas Dayee and injured three others, and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

This morning, a bomb attack in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, killed Dayee, a reporter with Radio Azadi, the Afghan branch of the U.S. Congress-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, according to news reports and Abdul Mujeeb Khalvatgar, director of the local journalist safety organization Nai, who communicated with CPJ via email.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to those reports, which stated that the explosive was a “sticky bomb” attached to Dayee’s vehicle, similar to those used in recent targeted killings.

“Elyas Dayee, like other journalists in Afghanistan, was simply doing his job and trying to inform the public, and should never have had to fear for his life,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “Afghan authorities must put an end to journalist killings by showing that those responsible will be found and held to account.”

Voice of America, a sister network of RFE/RL, stated that Dayee’s brother, who was injured in the attack, is also a journalist. Khalvatgar identified the brother as Mojtaba Mohamadi, saying that he previously worked for a German radio broadcaster, but did not know his current affiliation. Those news reports did not specify the extent of Mohamadi’s injuries.

Dayee covered news throughout Helmand province, and was known for his reporting on conflict, Khalvatgar told CPJ. Dayee had worked with Radio Azadi for more than 10 years, according to Voice of America.

The explosion occurred while Dayee, his brother, a third adult, and a child were traveling to the local press club, according to Voice of America.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack, saying it was an attempt “to silence the expressive voice of media,” according to that report.

CPJ emailed the media relations spokesperson of the Afghan national government for comment, but did not immediately receive any response.

Afghanistan remains one of the deadliest countries for journalists, and ranks fifth on CPJ’s Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where journalists are murdered and their killers go free.