Journalist and Family Murdered Ahead of Afghanistan Presidential Election24 Mar, 2014
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate Afghanistan Independent Journalist Association (AIJA) strongly condemn the horrific killing of an AFP journalist and his family in Kabul last week and have called on the government to ensure journalist safety amid increasing violence in Afghanistan as the country’s presidential election approaches.
Sardar Ahmad, a 40-year-old senior reporter with the Agence France-Presse (AFP) Kabul bureau, was shot dead along with his wife and two of their three children when four gunmen attacked the Serena Hotel in Kabul on Thursday, March 20.The Taliban, who have vowed a campaign of violence to disrupt the April 5 Afghanistan election, claimed the responsibility for the attack.
The AIJA said: “It is a direct attack on free journalism in the country and there could be no justification of the act. We are very concerned with the increasing violence against journalists in our country. We think it will visibly affect free and impartial media coverage of coming presidential election.”
The AIJA has also called on all concerned parties in the conflict, especially the Taliban, to fulfil their commitments to avoid violence against the media. A statement from Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Ahmad’s killing was “a big crime… heartbreaking and sorrowful”. AFP havealso strongly condemned the attack.
On January 23, the body of Noor Ahmad Noori, a Busd Radio journalist and former New York Times employee, was found in the Karte Lagan area of Helmand. Noori had been kidnapped and hanged before his body was disposed of.
Two weeks ago, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) called for a thorough investigation into the brutal murder of Swedish journalist, Nils Horner. Horner, who also held British citizenship, was shot dead in a rare daylight attack in Kabul on March 11 by an unknown gunman.
The AIJA said: “These are blatant violations of the security of independent journalists in Afghanistan. We believe that the government has not been able to bring offenders and criminals to justice in the past. Therefore, we see a repeat of such heinous crimes all over the country.”
The IFJ said: “This increasing trend of media assaults in Afghanistan is deeply disturbing, especially when looking at the savage nature of this latest killing coming only two weeks after the murder of Nils Horner.”
“In the context of April 5 election, which the Taliban have vowed to disrupt, there could be more attacks and killings of journalists.We urge President Karzai and the Afghan government to take up every measure to ensure safety and security of journalists, who have a special duty to cover the election without fear or intimidation.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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