Former Afghan TV presenter killed in explosion in Kabul

No group has claimed responsibility for the death of former Tolo TV news presenter Yama Siawash by car bomb.

A wreckage of a bus which carried employees of an Afghan television station and was bombed is seen in Kabul
The killing of Yama Siawash was condemned by government officials as an 'unforgivable' crime [File: Omar Sobhani/Reuters]

A former Afghan television presenter and two other civilians were killed in a bomb explosion in Kabul on Saturday in the latest violence to rock the city.

Yama Siawash died when a bomb attached to his vehicle exploded near his residence in the Afghan capital, police spokesman Ferdaws Faramarz told journalists.

A witness, Mohammad Rafi, said Siawash’s father and brother were the first to reach the vehicle that was engulfed in flames.

Siawash, who recently joined Afghanistan’s central bank as an adviser, used to be a prominent political and current affairs presenter with Tolo News, the country’s biggest private TV channel.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but many prominent figures – including journalists, religious leaders, politicians and rights activists – have been killed in targeted attacks in Kabul and other cities amid growing violence in the country.

Siawash’s death drew immediate condemnation from senior Afghan officials.

A member of the Afghan security forces arrive at the site of an attack at Kabul University last week [File: Rahmat Gul/AP]

“Targeting journalists is targeting the freedom of expression and Siawash’s death is a big loss for our country,” Abdullah Abdullah, who heads the country’s overall peace and reconciliation process, said in a statement.

“This is an unforgivable and unforgettable crime.”

Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for President Ashraf Ghani, also condemned the killing of “one of the most talented [television] presenters” in Afghanistan.

Surge of violence

Violence has surged across Afghanistan in recent months despite the Taliban and Afghan government engaging in peace talks to end the country’s long-running conflict.

Last week, an attack on Kabul University killed 22 people, many of them students. The ISIL (ISIS) affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack as well as for another assault on an educational institution in Kabul on October 24 that killed 24 people.

Government negotiators and the Taliban are in Qatar to find an end to decades of relentless war in Afghanistan, but the two sides have made little progress.

The talks were part of a negotiated agreement between the United States and the Taliban to allow American and NATO troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, ending 19 years of military engagement.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies