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Media freedom in Afghanistan increasingly under threat

AT News

KABUL: The media supporting agency (NAI) expressed concerns on possible terrorist attacks against the media and healthcare centers in Afghanistan, saying the Daesh terrorist group was seeking attacks on journalists, media workers and health servants.

Mujib Khalwatgar, head of the NAI cited the arrest of two Daesh affiliate terrorists by security forces this week, saying that the arrested people had confessed they planned to attack a media company and the Maula Ali private hospital located in western Kabul. However the media outlet was not identified.  

“These threats could affect the media activities,” he said. “The terrorist group tries to attack the media especially amid political crisis to hide their terrorist faces,” Khalwatgar said, referring to Daesh group’s recent threats.

He called on the government to investigate the issue and prevent attacks on the media and healthcare facilities.

The medical employees and staffers have been targeted by several deadly attacks in the past few years in Afghanistan.

Former Spy Chief, Rahmatullah Nabil said the militants attempted to psychologically affect the people by attacking the mosques, health centers and media outlets.

“The main goal of these types of attacks is to attract national and international attention and increase people’s dissatisfaction to the government,” he said. “Approaching such targets is easier but it has a widely psychological affection.”

A magnetic bomb attached to a minibus carrying staff of Khorshid private television killed two and wounded six others last month in Kabul city. The broadcaster personnel came under attack for second time. In the first attack, a similar incident injured a number of workers of the TV channel.

In addition to the media, the hospitals were also targeted by the terrorist attacks. The militants attacked a maternity hospital in Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood in May, killing 27 people and 16 others wounded, including pregnant women and newborn babies.

Two prominent religious clerics in capital Kabul were earlier killed in two separate attacks inside the mosques in capital Kabul.

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