Afghanistan: Former TV presenter killed in bomb attack

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Nov 07, 2020, 05:43 PM IST

This handout undated video grab image distributed by TOLO TV shows former Afghan television presenter for TOLO News, Yama Siawash, taking part in a broadcast, at TOLO TV in Kabul. A former Afghan television presenter and two other civilians were killed in a bomb explosion in Kabul on November 7, police said, in the latest violence to rock the city. Photograph:(AFP)

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Afghanistan's interior ministry has blamed Haqqani network, a group linked to the Taliban. It did not claim responsibility for the blast in the immediate aftermath

Former Afghan television presenter Yama Siawash was killed in bomb attack on Saturday in Kabul. He was killed as a bomb attached to his vehicle exploded near his home. Two other civilians were killed in the blast. Siawash used to be prominent political and current affairs presenter with Tolo News and was known for hard hitting style of interviewing. Tolo News is Afghanistan's biggest private TV channel.

Afghanistan's interior ministry has blamed Haqqani network, a group linked to the Taliban. It did not claim responsibility for the blast in the immediate aftermath.

"Such targeted attacks and explosions of sticky bombs is the continuation of crimes by Haqqani network and the Taliban," Tariq Arian, spokesman for the ministry, told reporters.

Haqqani network has been designated by the US as a terrorist group.

Siawash's death drew immediate condemnation from senior Afghan officials and foreign diplomats.

"I am shocked at the killing of former Tolo News anchor Yama Siawash," Ross Wilson, US charge d'affaires in Kabul, said on Twitter.

"This attack is an assault on freedom of the press, one of Afghanistan's core democratic principles."
Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the country's overall peace and reconciliation process, also said Siawash's murder targeted freedom of expression in Afghanistan.

"This is an unforgivable and unforgettable crime," he said in a statement.

Targetted killings

The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, a panel set up by media networks to oversee security for journalists in the country, called for "identifying and prosecuting the perpetrators" of the attack.

President Ashraf Ghani ordered an investigation into the murders, the presidential palace said.

Targeted killings of prominent figures, including journalists, clerics, politicians and rights activists, have become more common in recent months amid growing violence in the country.

On Thursday, the father of Zarifa Ghafari, one of Afghanistan's first female mayors, was gunned down in front of his house in Kabul.

His assassination was condemned by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had awarded Ghafari with the International Women of Courage award earlier this year.

US watchdog Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in a report this week that violent attacks in the country had surged by 50 per cent during three months to September when compared to the previous quarter.

Dozens of people were killed in less than two weeks in Kabul in brutal attacks that also left scores wounded.
On Monday, a deadly raid by militants on Kabul University left 22 people dead, many of them students.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack but the government blamed the Haqqani network.

The attack on the university came just days after a suicide bombing near an educational centre killed 24 people. That attack was also claimed by IS.

(With AFP inputs)