Bismillah Adil Aimaq, editor-in-chief of Voice of Ghor radio, was killed in Afghanistan's Ghor province. Journalists, politicians and rights activists have increasingly been targeted despite peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
An Afghan radio journalist was shot dead in a car ambush in the central province of Ghor, officials said, the fifth media worker to be killed in two months.
Bismillah Adil Aimaq, editor-in-chief of Voice of Ghor radio, was killed on Friday en route to Firoz Koh city, the capital of Ghor province, said the governor's spokesperson Aref Aber.
Aimaq's murder follows a similar pattern in recent months, where prominent Afghans have been ambushed by gunmen or killed in bomb attacks.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for Aimaq's murder.
The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, a group working for the security of journalists in the violence-wracked country, confirmed the incident.
According to journalists committee, Bismillah Adil was attacked twice in the past two years. A gunmen shot at his vehicle in Firoz Koh city in October 2019 and in November 2020, attackers shot and threw a grenade at his house.
As part of the #serial killing of Afghan journalists, another #journalist was killed today. Bismillah Adil, Editor in Chief of #SadaiGhor Radio was shot dead this afternoon while driving to his birth village, Tagha Temor. pic.twitter.com/Osu6GVv2IB— AJSC (Afghan Journalists Safety Committee) (@ajsc_afg) January 1, 2021
Journalists on a knife-edge
The wave of assassinations have triggered fear across the country, especially in Kabul.
"The security situation is deteriorating day by day," said Ahmad Jawed, a government employee in Kabul.
"When we leave our homes in the morning, we are not sure we will return home alive by evening."
Journalists, politicians and rights activists have increasingly been targeted as violence surges in Afghanistan, despite peace talks between the government and the Taliban.
Aimaq's murder comes weeks after the December 23 killing of Mohammad Yousuf Rasheed, who led an independent election monitoring organisation. He was ambushed and shot in morning rush-hour traffic in Kabul along with his driver.
His murder came a day after five people, including two doctors working for a prison on the outskirts of Kabul, were killed by a car bomb.
A prominent Afghan journalist was also shot last month while on his way to a mosque in the eastern city of Ghazni.
Rahmatullah Nekzad was the seventh media worker to be killed in Afghanistan in 2020, according to the Kabul-based Afghan Journalists Safety Committee.
First day of 2021 in Afghanistan. Two assassinations of civilians. A civil society activist from Baghlan in Kabul and a journalist in Ghor. Both young. Targeted killings is aiming to kill Afg’s spirit & take away the independent voices & the response is mostly indifference.— Shaharzad Akbar (@ShaharzadAkbar) January 1, 2021
Taliban inmates release
Two Taliban inmates who were freed ahead of peace talks between the insurgents and the Afghan government have been arrested in connection with Nekzad's murder, Afghanistan's spy agency the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said late on December 31.
About 5,000 Taliban inmates were released last year as part of a contentious prisoner swap ahead of the long-delayed peace talks that finally commenced on September 12.
The NDS said that after their release the two Taliban inmates joined a "terrorist group" in Ghazni which has carried out several assassinations.
The two, who have confessed to their crimes, had also assassinated a judge and two government employees, the agency said.
The Taliban had denied responsibility for the murder of Nekzad.
Peace talks are currently on a break, but are due to resume on January 5 in the Qatari capital of Doha.