Reporter shot dead in Afghanistan

By: AFP      Published: 09:08 PM, 21 Dec, 2020
Reporter shot dead in Afghanistan

Gunmen murdered an Afghan journalist in the eastern city of Ghazni on Monday, the third reporter in the violence-plagued country to be killed in the last two months.

Rahmatullah Nekzad was shot dead with a silenced pistol by unknown gunmen near his home while he was travelling to a nearby mosque, Ghazni province police spokesman Ahmad Khan Seerat told AFP.

No group has claimed the murder so far but the Taliban denied responsibility.

Nekzad, aged in his late 40s, had worked on a freelance basis for the Associated Press news agency and the Al Jazeera broadcast network, according to the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee.

"AJSC strongly condemns the serial killing of Afghan journalists," the committee, which reports on threats to media workers in the country, said on Twitter. 

Targeted killings of prominent figures, including journalists, politicians and rights activists, have become more common in recent months as violence surges in Afghanistan, despite ongoing peace talks between the government and the Taliban.

Nekzad's death follows the assassination earlier this month of female news anchor and activist Malalai Maiwand, who was shot dead with her driver in Jalalabad in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Last month Radio Liberty reporter Aliyas Dayee was killed in a car bomb attack in southern Lashkar Gah city.

Much of the violence has been unleashed by the Taliban as they attempt to gain leverage in peace talks, which opened in September in Doha but are currently on a break until early January.