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.

File Photo: Bullet-shells are seen in a room at the Kabul University after a deadly attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
File Photo: Bullet-shells are seen in a room at the Kabul University after a deadly attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, November 3, 2020. (Rahmat Gul / AP)

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.

READ MORE: Afghan women's rights activist Freshta Kohistani shot dead

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.

READ MORE: Afghan team prepares for peace talks after freeing 200 Taliban inmates

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.

READ MORE: Why prisoner exchange is the main sticking point for Afghan peace deal

Source: TRTWorld and agencies