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Afghan Journalists Face Rising Levels of Violence, Foreign Diplomats

Those responsible for the killing of Afghan journalists and trying to gag the press need to face justice: UN

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KABUL: Diplomats based in Kabul expressed their concerns on growing violence against the media professionals and rights defenders in Afghanistan.

The embassies of the United Kingdom and Canada in a joint statement on Wednesday said that the Afghan journalists had faced rising levels in violence and insecurity during the past years.

“Members of the media, human rights activists, and other prominent members of civil society have been threatened, injured, or killed in targeted attacks – many of which are attributable to the Taliban and their proxies,” the statement said.

The embassies called on investigation into the “heinous” attacks against journalists. They urged the Afghan conflict parties to end violence and support the Afghan media. “(UK-Canada) expect parties to the Afghan peace negotiations, including the Taliban, to publicly condemn the targeted attacks on members of the media, civil society organizations and the government,” the statement read.

The UK and Canada reiterated their commitment to working collaboratively with Afghanistan to defend media and Afghan journalists.

Following the statement, the US Charge the Affairs, Ross Wilson said in a tweet that Washington condemned the violence against journalists, human rights activists and members of the civil society in Afghanistan.

“These attacks are an assault on democracy, transparency, and justice,” he said. “We join the call for all parties to the peace talks to condemn such violence and work to end it. We are watching, listening and waiting for justice for all Afghan victims.”

Former Spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, and deputy minister of interior affairs for strategy and policies, Sediq Sediqqi said that the government would prevent the militants from undermining or silencing the media.

“We will stand firm to uphold one of our best gains of the past twenty years with our international allies who helped us to achieve it. No to dark ages,” he said.

The UNAMA in Afghanistan also urges Afghanistan authorities to meet its Global Pledge by demonstrating greater commitment to the safety of journalists.

‘Those responsible for the killing of Afghan journalists and trying to gag the press need to face justice.’

Afghanistan has recently seen an upswing in violence of targeted killings of a string of high-profile individuals. In less than three months, seven media figures were killed either by the unidentified gunmen or as a result sticky mines. No one asserted the attack against media workers but the blame flows towards the Taliban, with whom, the government is presently engaged in peace negotiations to find a political end to the longtime war in the country.

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