Kabul suicide bombing kills AFP driver

Mohammad Akhtar, a driver employed by the Agence France-Presse bureau in Kabul, was one of the fatal victims of a suicide bombing in Kabul on 22 July, of which the target was Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum, a former war lord who had just returned to Afghanistan from self-imposed exile.

Aged 31 and a father of four, Mohammad Akhtar had worked for AFP for the past 11 years. His family said he was on his way to the agency’s bureau when he was killed by the blast. The death toll from the bombing, which was claimed by Islamic State (Daesh), was at least 23. Dostum was unhurt.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) offers its condolence to Akhtar’s family and colleagues.

Akhtar was the first non-journalist media employee to be killed in Afghanistan this year. Nine journalists, including AFP photographer Shah Marai Fezi, were killed in a double suicide bombing in Kabul on 30 April.

According to RSF’s tally, a total of 37 journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan since the start of 2016 in bombings and other acts of violence by the country’s two leading press freedom predators, Islamic State and the Taliban.

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