On January 1, 2021, unidentified attackers shot and killed Bismillah Adel Aimaq, head of the local broadcaster Radio Sada-e-Ghor, while he was driving on the outskirts of Feroz Koh, a city in central Afghanistan’s Ghor province, according to multiple news reports.
Other passengers in the car, including Aimaq’s brother, were unharmed, according to those reports.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, and police opened an investigation, those reports said.
Authorities identified Ezatullah Bik, a member of the provincial council of Ghor, as a suspect in Aimaq’s killing, and National Directorate of Security officers attempted to arrest him on January 14, according to Tolo News. Bik “started fighting with NDS officers” during the arrest, and was killed, according to that report, which stated that one officer was also killed and another wounded.
According to the news reports from the time of Aimaq’s death, a Taliban spokesperson denied that the group was connected to the killing. The United States has accused the Taliban of being responsible for a wave of targeted killings in Afghanistan, according to Voice of America.
On November 7, Aimaq wrote on his personal Facebook account, where he frequently posted reporting and political commentary, that unidentified people had shot at his house and car, and that he was unharmed and had reported the incidents to security officials, according to CPJ’s review of his account and those news reports.
Abdul Mujeeb Khalvatgar, head of Nai, a local press freedom organization, told CPJ via messaging app that the group believed the November attacks were related to Aimaq’s work, especially considering that Aimaq was well-known in the region.
Aimaq covered local news and politics in Ghor, according to a review of his Facebook posts. He was 28 years old, and had worked at the radio station since 2015, according to Reuters.
CPJ emailed the Afghan Ministry of Interior for comment, but did not receive any reply.