Palwasha Tokhi

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

An unknown assailant entered Tokhi’s home shortly before noon by posing as a deliveryman and stabbed her multiple times before fleeing the scene, according to news reports. Tokhi was taken to a local hospital, but did not survive the attack.

Tokhi had worked as a journalist for Bayan-e-Shamal from 2008 through 2012. Bayan-e-Shamal is an International Security Assistance Force-sponsored media outlet with a TV and radio station that report on variety of local issues. In 2012, Tokhi had traveled to Thailand to pursue a graduate degree in political science. She had returned to Afghanistan two months before the attack took place, according to Tolo News, one of the country’s largest news organizations.

After returning to Afghanistan, Tokhi received a death threat from an unknown source, according to reports. She informed Bayan-e-Shamal about the threat, who in turn informed German authorities, which fund the station. CPJ spoke to Hafiz Majidi, director of Bayan-e-Shamal, who said that German authorities did not provide any details to him about the threat and that they cited an ongoing investigation into her death. Majidi told CPJ he did not know the nature of the threat or whether it was related to Tokhi’s past journalism work.

Majidi told the German Press Agency (DPA) that Tokhi was “most likely killed because she had worked with Bayan, which is supported by NATO troops.” The director told CPJ that several journalists working for the outlet frequently receive threats, which the outlet sends to the German authorities.

Afghan authorities said they suspected that Tokhi’s family or a personal enmity was the motive of the attack, according to Nai, an independent organization that supports open media in Afghanistan. The journalist’s family said they did not have any personal enemies and that they did not know of the motive behind the killing.

In recent years, women who work or have gone to school have come under attack in Afghanistan, according to news reports. Women who travel abroad for an education sometimes face even harsher backlash from their families, who consider getting education a taboo.

Provincial authorities launched an investigation but made no arrests, according to Nai.