As the inter-Afghan peace talks, which opened on September 12, 2020 in Doha, Qatar, are at a standstill, the number of targeted killings has skyrocketed. An increasingly worrying situation when three employees of the private Afghan television channel Enekaas TV were killed on Tuesday, March 2, in the city of Jalalabad, in the northeast of the country, not far from the Pakistani border. The women, aged 17 to 20, were gunned down in the middle of the street and in the middle of a passing crowd. Two other women were injured in the assault.
On Wednesday morning, the Islamic State (IS) organization claimed responsibility for the operation. In December, the IS had already assumed the death, under similar conditions, of Malalai Maiwand, one of the presenters of the channel who was also campaigning for the women’s cause in her country. “Caliphate soldiers targeted three female journalists working for one of the media loyal to the apostate Afghan government,” assured the local branch of the IS, in a statement. The local police claim to have arrested one of the attackers and, on the contrary, demonstrated his membership of the Taliban movement. The latter for his part denied any link with this event through the voice of one of his spokespersons.
These three young women fell into a real trap, the details of which began to filter in the aftermath of the tragedy. According to the channel’s management, Shahnaz, Sadia and Mursal, of their first names, were killed in two separate attacks as they left their office and walked home at around 4 p.m. The bodies of the first two victims remained on the ground for long minutes before being taken to hospital where doctors could only note their death. One of them was dressed in a burka, a traditional dress that hides the face of the wearer. These three young women worked in the dubbing service for TV films imported from Turkey and India, within Enekaas TV.
This new violence, however daily, sparked a wave of indignation and condemnation within the international community present in Afghanistan and among the Afghan leaders. “With these cowardly attacks and by causing terror, the Taliban cannot silence the voices that speak forcefully to defend the Republic and the successes of the past two decades”, reacted the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani. Fifteen media workers have been killed in the past six months. Another was murdered in early 2021.
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