Malala Maiwand speaks during her talk show in Jalalabad. Photo: Twitter
Gulf Today Report
Afghan officials have confirmed that gunmen shot dead a female news anchor and her driver on Thursday. It was the second murder of a journalist in Afghanistan in a month.
Malala Maiwand, in her 20s, was killed along with her driver Mohammad Tahir in the eastern city of Jalalabad as they travelled to work, said Enekaas TV, the private television channel she worked for.
The journalist, whose activist mother was also killed by unknown gunmen five years ago, had previously spoken out about the difficulties of being a female reporter under Afghanistan’s patriarchal system.
No one has claimed responsibility, but a Daesh affiliate is headquartered in eastern Afghanistan and has claimed most of the recent attacks on civilians in Afghanistan. The Taliban also operate in the area.
Afghans pay their respects to TV anchor Malala Maiwand. AP
Targeted killings of prominent figures, including journalists, clerics, politicians and rights activists, have become more common in recent months as violence surges in Afghanistan, despite peace talks between the government and the Taliban.
Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the Nangarhar provincial governor, and the local hospital confirmed the killings.
Nangarhar province and its capital Jalalabad have seen regular clashes between government forces and the Taliban. The extremist Daesh group has also claimed several deadly attacks in the province.
The murder of Maiwand, who was in her 20s, comes just weeks after Radio Liberty reporter Aliyas Dayee was killed in a car bomb attack in Lashkar Gah.
Afghans offer funeral prayers for Malala Maiwand. AP
Human Rights Watch said Dayee had previously been threatened by the Taliban.
A former television presenter in Kabul, Yama Siawash, was killed in a similar car bomb attack near his home last month.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for these murders.Afghan forces are battling an increase in violence in the country, much of it unleashed by the Taliban as they attempt to gain leverage in peace talks in Qatar, which opened in September.
The attacks came against the backdrop of renewed UN calls for an end to violence and as Washington’s special peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, embarked on another round of talks with the Taliban to press them to start negotiating with the newly reconciled Afghan political leadership in Kabul.
Mena Mangal was well known in Kabul circles for her work presenting shows on several television networks, before she left journalism to become a cultural advisor to parliament.
District chief Fazeluddin Muradi says that the insurgents' attack also wounded at least eight pro-government fighters, during several hours of battle late Friday in the area of Nahrin.
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