Elyas Dayee

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Elyas Dayee, a reporter with Radio Azadi, the Afghan branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), was killed in a car bomb attack on November 12, 2020, according to news reports.

The explosive was a “sticky bomb” attached to Dayee’s vehicle, similar to those used in recent targeted killings, according to the reports, which quoted local officials. 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. Dayee’s brother was injured in the attack, according to VOA.

Dayee was 33 years old and had worked at Radio Azadi for nearly 12 years, Samiullah Mahdi, Radio Azadi bureau chief CPJ told over the phone. Dayee was a war reporter who covered Helmand province, the frontline of the war in Afghanistan, Mahdi said. Dayee always worked to make sure human stories were told in his reporting and frequently sought out human interest stories, Mahdi said.

Mahdi said he was not aware that Dayee had received any recent overt threats, but that over the years he had received some threatening messages related to his journalism while working in the province. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the news reports. In an interview with RFE/RL, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the group did not accept or deny involvement in the incident, saying only that it would investigate what happened. The Guardian reported that an unnamed local Taliban source claimed the bomb as an “achievement” on social media and made threats to other journalists on Twitter.

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

A media relations spokesperson for the Afghan national government did not respond to CPJ’s request for comment sent via email.