Three women working for TV station killed in Afghanistan

3 March 2021, 08:14

A body on a sheet in Afghanistan
Afghanistan. Picture: PA

The so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the deaths.

The so-called Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the killing of three women working for a local radio and TV station in eastern Afghanistan.

The shootings are the latest in a spike in targeted killings across the war-torn country.

Dozens of people gathered Wednesday for the funerals of the three women, who were employed by Enikass Radio and TV.

The women were gunned down on Tuesday in separate attacks, according to the news editor of the privately-owned station and officials in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province.

Afghan officials said police arrested the alleged killer of the three, identifying him as Qari Baser and insisting he was a member of the Taliban – although this claim was promptly denied by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

Nangarhar police chief Juma Gul Hemat said Baser had used a pistol with a silencer in the attacks.

Baser was arrested shortly after the attacks by police in Jalalabad, the provincial capital.

The women were killed in Jalalabad
Relatives wait outside a hospital for the bodies of three women that ware killed by gunmen in the city of Jalalabad east of Kabul (AP)

The IS claim contradicted the Afghan government’s accusations against the Taliban.

The militants said the three female journalists were targeted because they worked for one of the “media stations loyal to the apostate Afghan government” in Jalalabad.

It is not the first attack against women working at Enikass Radio and TV. In December, IS claimed the killing of another female employee there, Malala Maiwand.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani condemned the attack on Tuesday, saying that assaults on “innocent compatriots, especially women, are contrary to the teachings of Islam, Afghan culture and the spirit of peace”.

Afghanistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for media workers.

Tuesday’s killings brought the number of media workers killed in Afghanistan in the last six months to 15.

The killings are part of a larger spike in targeted killings in Afghanistan in the past year, coinciding with the signing of a peace deal between the United States and the Taliban in February 2020.

The Taliban has denied involvement in most of the targeted killings. Both the Taliban and the government blame the other for staging the attacks to discredit the peace deal or leverage greater concessions.

The Biden administration is reviewing the deal which calls for the withdrawal of US and Nato troops by May 1. Officials say no decision has been made.

Shokrullah Pasoon, the news editor of Enikass Radio and TV in Jalalabad, said one of the women, Mursal Wahidi, was walking home when gunmen opened fire, according to eyewitnesses.

The other two victims, identified only as Shahnaz and Sadia, were shot and killed in a separate incident, also while walking home from work.

Two other people, apparently passers-by, were wounded in the shooting.

The three women dubbed popular dramas from Turkey and India into Afghanistan’s local languages of Dari and Pashtu, added Mr Pasoon.

Enikass Radio and TV is a privately owned outlet that broadcasts “news, various political, social, Islamic, educational, satirical, and engaging programs and standard dubbing of serials and movies for the people of Afghanistan,” according to its website.

By Press Association