Journalist killed in armed attack in Kandahar

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is saddened to learn that Mohammad Salim Inghar, a cameraman with Afghanistan’s national TV broadcaster, was among those killed in a Taliban armed attack on the governor’s compound in Kandahar province on 18 October. Aged 64, he was the father of six children.

Two senior Afghan officials were also killed in the attack: Kandahar police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq and the head of the National Directorate of Security in Kandahar province, Abdul Momin.

The attack took place during a meeting in the governor’s compound between Afghan and US officials, including the top US commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Scott Miller. Kandahar’s governor and US Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley were among the wounded.

The information that Smiley was injured was not released until two days later. In fact, little information has been provided about the attack, partly because of the presence of senior US officials.

We offer our condolences to Mohammad Salim Inghar’s family and colleagues,” said Reza Moini, the head of RSF’s Afghanistan desk. “He was the 14th journalist to be killed in Afghanistan since the start of the year. We request an impartial investigation to shed light on the circumstances of this journalist’s death.”

According to RSF’s tally, a total of 38 journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of 2016 in shootings and bombings deliberately targeting the media and journalists by the country’s two leading press freedom predators, Islamic State and the Taliban.

After several bombings during the parliamentary elections held on 19 and 20 October, RSF calls for more protection for journalists, who are the guarantors of free, transparent and democratic elections. More than 4 million Afghans voted in these elections despite the danger of violence and the risk of irregularities.

Journalists encountered many problems in covering the elections freely in some provinces, including Kapisa, where a Radio Resalat reporter was attacked by a candidate’s bodyguards. But for the most part, the media and journalists were free to cover the elections.

Afghanistan is ranked 118th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.