Washington, D.C., September 22, 2021 — The Taliban must conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into the shooting of Mohammad Ali Ahmadi and hold the perpetrator to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On September 18, an unidentified man shot Ahmadi, a reporter and editor with the privately owned national radio broadcaster Salam Watandar, in Kabul, the capital, according to reports by Voice of America and his employer, and a person familiar with the incident, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal by the Taliban.
Ahmadi was traveling in a taxi van when a man sitting next to him asked where he worked; when he said he worked for Salam Watandar, the man said that outlet was an “American radio station,” pulled out a gun, and fired several shots at Ahmadi, two of which struck him in the leg, according to those sources. The gunman then fled the scene, according to Voice of America.
Ahmadi has been hospitalized since the attack, and today was moved out of an intensive care at the hospital, the person familiar with his case said.
Separately, on September 7, Taliban fighters detained Morteza Samadi, a freelance photographer, after he covered a protest in the western city of Herat, as CPJ documented at the time. He remains in custody as of today, according to a person familiar with the case who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal by the Taliban.
“The shooting of journalist Mohammad Ali Ahmadi is a test of the Taliban’s commitment to justice: will they stand by their pledge to allow journalists to do their jobs?” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “The Taliban must conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into this attack, hold the perpetrator to account, and ensure that members of the press can work safely. The continued detention of journalist Morteza Samadi by the Taliban is also unconscionable, and must end immediately.”
The person familiar with the attack on Ahmadi told CPJ that he suspected members of the Taliban were behind it. No suspects have been identified, according to those news reports. Nasir Maimanagy, managing director of Salam Watandar, told Voice of America that the Taliban had denied responsibility and promised to investigate.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the Taliban spokesperson in Afghanistan, and Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban spokesperson in Qatar, did not respond to CPJ’s requests for comment sent via messaging app.