Suspected Taliban militants kill media center manager, kidnaped journalist

August 9, 2021

Kabul- Suspected Taliban fighters killed Afghan media center manager Toofan Omari in Kabul and kidnapped Nematullah Hemmat, a journalist in southern Helmand province, local government officials said on Monday, reporting the latest in a long line of attacks targeting media workers.

Amid a resurgence in targeted attacks across Afghanistan, unidentified gunmen shot and killed Omari, a manager of the privately-owned media center Paktia Ghag in Deh Sabz district in Kabul on Sunday.

Mr. Omari was traveling with his colleague, also a prosecutor, from Bagram prison to Kabul when they were attacked by gunmen, According to his family.  It is not clear whether the journalist killing was related to his work with Paktia  Ghag media center, or the Bagram Detention Facility.

The media center Mr. Omari established in Paktia province contained two radio stations named Paktia Ghag Radio, Women's Voice Radio, and a weekly publication.

Also, in southern Helmand province, officials said Taliban fighters had seized a Gharghasht TV journalist Nematullah Hemat, from his home in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, on Sunday.

The Afghanistan Journalists Center remains gravely concerned about the wellbeing of local journalists amid a rise in threats and attacks on local media outlets across Afghanistan as well as journalists reporting for international media.

“We strongly condemn killing of Toofan Omari and call on the Afghan authorities to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice and ensure the safe release of journalist Nematullah Hemat,” said Ahmad Quraishi, AFJC executive director “we urge the Afghan government and international community for support for media in the deteriorating climate in Afghanistan as US troops withdraw and fighting between the Afghan army and Taliban militants intensifies.

According to the Afghanistan Journalists Data, a total of 123 journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan over the past two decades, with seven journalists and media workers including four women losing their lives in 2021, most of them deliberately targeted.