Washington, D.C., June 7, 2021 — Afghan authorities should launch a thorough and credible investigation into the killing of journalist Mina Khairi, determine if she was targeted for her work, and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On the evening of June 3, in Kabul, the capital, unidentified attackers detonated an improvised explosive device attached to a van carrying Khairi, an anchor at the local broadcaster Ariana News TV, according to news reports and Ahmad Farshad Saleh, a news manager at Ariana News TV, who spoke to CPJ in a phone interview.
The explosion killed Khairi, her mother, and two other passengers, and also injured the journalist’s sister, according to those sources; no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Saleh told CPJ that other employees at the station had recently received threats, but he was not aware of any threats made to Khairi.
“Afghan authorities must thoroughly investigate the killing of Ariana News TV anchor Mina Khairi, determine if she was targeted for her work, and ensure that her killers face justice,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Establishing a safe environment for journalists in Afghanistan is critical to maintaining press freedom in the country, and holding attackers to account is the only way for authorities to show that they are taking these cases seriously.”
Khairi, 23, joined Ariana News TV in May 2017 and hosted general news and political affairs shows, Saleh told CPJ. Ariana News TV part of Ariana Television, a privately owned news and entertainment broadcaster, according to its website, which says that the outlet focuses on covering “education, health, children’s programming, women’s and world issues.”
Saleh said he believed that killing was an attempt by some group to create panic among journalists and dissuade them from reporting the news.
CPJ has documented the killing of at least one other journalist in Afghanistan this year, and is continuing to investigate the motive of that attack.
CPJ emailed the Kabul police for comment, but did not immediately receive any reply.