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Probe launched into RTA reporter’s assassination

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: A high-profile government delegation landed in the capital of southern Zabul province aimed at launching an investigation over the assassination of Mohammad Yaqoob Sharafat, a reporter of the state-run Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), an official said Tuesday.

Provincial spokesman Gul Islam Seyal told Pajhwok Afghan News a high-level government delegation reached Qalat, the provincial capital on Monday to investigate the incident.

The delegation included representatives from the Presidential Palace, interior and defense ministries, the National Directorate of Security, Attorney General Office, and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance, he said.

Sharafat, 23, was shot in head and neck with a silenced pistol by unidentified gunmen while going home from office in Resalee area of Qalat city. Local residents took Sharafat to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Besides being a journalist at the state-owned Afghanistan National Radio Television, Sharafat was also serving as freelance reporter with some local media including ‘Zabul Times’.

Gen. Mirwais Noorzai, provincial police chief, said the perpetrators have managed to escape, but he assured that the police is investigating the incident and will bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible.

“Delegation on Monday visited the victim’s family and extended condolences on behalf of the president Ashraf Ghani,” the provincial spokesman Seyal added.

He furthered in order to get their views the investigation team on Tuesday morning again visited the reporter’s family.

“The delegation was investigating relevant officials and institutions in connection with Sharafat’s assassination and would also assess the security situation in Zabul,” he added.

This year was deadliest for journalists in Afghanistan. Afghan Journalists’ Safety Committee figures show that over 60 journalists have been killed in the past 16 years in Afghanistan, where at least 11 journalists were killed so far this year, making 2016 the deadliest year for journalists. The figure includes journalists killed in conflict, targeted by unknown gunmen or murdered.

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