A local journalist associated with a private television channel has lost his life in a road side Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack in southern Helmand province on Friday.
The incident occurred when a group of journalists was on its way to see a neighborhood in the provincial capital Lashkargah recently reclaimed from the militants.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani condemned the killing of Naimatullah Zaheer, saying in a statement that "such terrorist attacks cannot stop media freedoms in Afghanistan or weaken the country's media" sector.
Zainullah Stanikzai, head of journalists’ union in the province, has said that the vehicle carrying Aryana News reporter Zaheer hit the IED that claimed his life and left his driver seriously wounded.Stanikzai added that the Afghan National Security and Defense Forces (ANSDF) reclaimed the Sar Godar area in the second Police District from the rebels, and the media team was on its way to witness the situation in this area. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Umar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, has blamed the Taliban for placing IEDs before escaping the area.
Media defenders in Afghanistan say at least 11 journalists have died and hundreds more forced to flee from fighting in the first 10 months of 2016, making it the deadliest year for the country. Two days ago on the occasion of U.N. International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, it was highlighted that more than 60 journalists have been killed in the country in the past 16 years and authorities never investigated those deaths.