On Thursday, December 10, International Human Rights Day, prominent journalist Malala Maiwand, who was working with Enikass TV and Radio, was killed by unidentified gunmen in eastern Afghanistan. 36-year-old Maiwand was traveling in her vehicle towards Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province when she was attacked.
Her driver, Mohammad Tahir also succumbed to his injuries following the assault. No militant outfit has assumed responsibility for the attack so far. Maiwand was also a civil society activist.
The provincial governor’s spokesman, Attaullah Khogyani, told the reporters that the assailants had fled the area. South Asia Women in Media has condemned the killing and asked for an investigation. In a statement they said, “Afghan authorities should put their weight behind the investigation into who killed her.”
This is not the first incident of a journalist being attacked in Afghanistan. More than 50 journalists and dozens of rights activists have been killed since 2001. Last month, on November 12, journalist Elyas Dayee, associated with RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan, was killed in an improvised bomb blast in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province.
Similarly, a week prior to that, Yama Siawash, a former presenter of Tolo News, was killed in Kabul’s Makrorayan-e-Char. Siawash had recently joined Afghanistan’s central bank as an adviser.
Afghanistan is the 5th most dangerous country for journalists according to the Committee to Protect Journalists Impunity Index. The situation is no better for civilians. According to the United Nation Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) report released on October 27, nearly 6,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded between January and September this year.