Zubair Hatami

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Hatami, a cameraman for the local privately run Mitra TV, died from wounds he sustained 10 days prior in a bomb blast at the French Cultural Centre, when a suicide bomber blew himself up on the grounds of Estaqlal High School, in Kabul, where the center is located, according to news reports. The blast killed at least four people immediately and injured at least 20, including Hatami, news reports said.

Hatami was covering the December 11, 2014, performance of a play called “Heartbeat: Silence After the Explosion,” which condemned suicide attacks, according to Najib Sharifi, director of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee. Hatami was taken to a local hospital for treatment, but fell into a coma and died on December 21, news reports said.

Police said the auditorium was heavily guarded during the performance and added that the bomber, believed to be a teenager, may have hidden explosives in his underwear to pass through security, reports said. The audience was mostly local Afghans, reports said.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack and said the performance was staged “to insult Islamic values and spread propaganda about our jihad operations, especially on suicide attacks,” according to reports. In a statement, the Taliban said any media, civil society, or organizations who attend “anti-Islam programs” or publish reports about them will be targeted, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a statement released shortly after the attack, the Taliban said “Western occupiers and their local servants should not use educational centers as the venue for their activities. The westerners are the target of the Taliban and the educational centers that are used by them will also be targeted and the responsibility will go to those Western criminals.”

Violence has escalated in the Afghan capital, with insurgents stepping up attacks amid the withdrawal of foreign combat troops from the country and the inauguration of a new president, according to news reports.