TV anchor, driver shot dead in eastern Afghanistan

No claim of responsibility for the incident that the channel head has blamed ‘enemies of the country’ for.

A female TV anchor and her driver were shot dead by unknown men in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Nangarhar.

The attack took place at 7.10am [02:40 GMT] on Thursday when journalist Malalai Maiwand and her driver were on their way to work in Jalalabad city, the provincial governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani said.

Maiwand worked as an anchor for the Enikass Radio and TV channel in the volatile province, channel head Zalmai Latifi told dpa news agency.

Mourners carry the coffin of Malalai Maiwand, who was shot dead by gunmen in Jalalabad [Noorullah Shirzada/AFP]

She was also an activist who advocated for the rights of Afghan women and children.

Latifi blamed “enemies of the country” and said the channel had been receiving death threats.

In 2017, several people, including a driver of the TV station, were killed in an explosion close to its building.

The following year, the director of the station was abducted before being freed later.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Thursday’s killing.

On Monday, the European Union’s mission in the country, together with the NATO delegation in the Afghan capital, Kabul, condemned the recent wave of attacks on representatives of the media, religious leaders and civil society.

A joint statement said “the Taliban and various terrorist organizations are responsible for the significant majority of civilian casualties in Afghanistan”.

“We consider these not only as savage attacks against Afghan blood, but as an attack on the very peace process in Afghanistan,” it added.

Afghanistan has been marred by deadly attacks on journalists. The country ranks as one of the most dangerous for reporting, according to Reporters Without Borders.

Last year, at least 10 journalists and media staff were killed in the country. The previous year marked the deadliest, with 20 reporters and media staff assassinated in various violent attacks.

Last month, Elyas Dayee and Yama Siawash, two prominent Afghan journalists, were killed in less than a week in Helmand province and Kabul.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies