Three women have been killed in Afghanistan

Three women have been killed in Afghanistan
Three female media workers have been shot dead in Jalalabad, the capital of Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province.

The director of Afghanistan’s Enikas television station said the three women, all high school graduates between the ages of 18 and 20, were employees of the station and worked in its voiceover department. Government sources said the women were on their way home from work when they were killed. Witnesses said the gunmen shot them in the head before fleeing. In addition to the injuries, a woman was taken to hospital in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said.

Police chief Juma Gul Hemat said the suspected leader of the attack, who has ties to Taliban militants, has been arrested. A Taliban spokesman denied the group was involved.

The United States has withdrawn some of its armed forces in recent months, and Afghan government and Taliban negotiators are engaged in peace talks in Doha. Afghanistan has been hit by a series of shootings and bombings, many targeting news media workers.

In November 2020, two journalists were killed in two separate bomb blasts. Also in November, gunmen attacked Kabul University, killing more than a dozen people, including students.

In December 2020, female journalist Malalai Maivand, who also worked for Enikas TV, was killed along with her driver in Jalalabad on her way to her office. Her mother, a women’s rights activist, was also killed by unknown gunmen five years ago. The head of the Enikas television station said it was founded in 2018 and employed 10 women, but four of them have now been killed.

The Afghan government and some foreign powers have largely blamed the Taliban for the attacks, but the Taliban has denied any involvement.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the 2nd issued a statement to condemn the attack.

“Targeted killings of media workers can cause panic in the press, which may lead journalists to abandon their media activities or even leave the country,” said the head of the Afghan media advocacy group NAI.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul called it “shocking news” and offered condolences to the families of the three women. The embassy wrote in a statement: “These attacks are intended to intimidate and they are aimed at making journalists cower. Criminals want to stifle freedom of speech in a country where the media has thrived in the past two decades. This is intolerable.”