Nemat Rawan was a popular talk show host with the country's leading broadcaster, Tolo News.
A high-profile Afghan television journalist was shot dead in Kandahar city Thursday, officials said, a day after the Taliban warned the media against "biased reporting."
Nemat Rawan was "assassinated by unknown gunmen," Kandahar city police spokesman Jamal Nasir Barekzai said.
He was a popular talk show host with the country's leading broadcaster, Tolo News, before joining the ministry of finance last month as a communications specialist.
Nemat Rawan during a Tolo News talk show. File
"Heartbreaking to hear that a friend and former colleague Nemat Rawan was shot dead in Kandahar city today," Lotfullah Najafizada, head of Tolo News, posted on Twitter.
The Taliban, blamed for a wave of assassinations of journalists in recent months, denied they were behind his murder.
"The assassination of Nemat Rawan... is not linked to the Islamic Emirate," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi said on Twitter.
On Wednesday, however, a Taliban spokesman warned that media workers who carry out "biased reporting" would be "held responsible."
Rawan, in his 20s, was married and had one three-year-old son. President Ashraf Ghani said Rawan's murder was a "terrorist attack" by the Taliban.
"The terrorists will not be able to silence freedom of expression and weaken our countrymen's belief in a bright future," he said in a statement.
The body of Nemat Rawan lies in morgue at a hospital in Kandahar. AP
Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the country's peace council, condemned the Taliban's threat against the media and "any attempts to silence Afghan journalists."
Members of Afghanistan's educated class — including journalists, activists and judges — have for months been the target of bombings and shootings, forcing many to go into hiding or leave the country.
The killings have escalated since peace talks began last year between the Afghan government and the Taliban, sparking fears that the insurgents are eliminating perceived opponents as negotiations stall.
Relatives carry the coffin of Nemat Rawan in Kandahar. AFP
At least 11 Afghan journalists were killed in 2020, with four more reportedly murdered this year, according to a recent toll from Amnesty International.
In early March, three female media workers were gunned down in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
Around 1,000 Afghan media workers have left their jobs in the past six months, an Afghan journalists' safety committee said recently.
The police official blamed the Taliban for the attack who have a strong presence in the area, especially in the Pasaband district. The Taliban have not commented on the attack in Ghor.
The Taliban however claimed the attack was actually a coordinated insurgent assault on the checkpoint where the shooting took place, killing over two dozen militiamen, according to Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.
The column about Afghanistan and the shredded social and economic fabric due to war paints a bleak picture. It paints hopelessness and gloom and makes one wonder about the trivialities that causes us to fret - which new car to buy, which school is best for the kid, etc. While here in Afghanistan our counterparts have to think of war and the Taliban, the tussle for the presidential chair and the ensuing power and security for life and family (“New truce could change Afghan blues,” May 23, Gulf Today).
"All the guests of the hotel have been rescued and no foreigner was killed. Only two foreign guests were injured when they threw themselves from an upper storey," chief Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid added on Twitter.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed expressed his thanks to Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad for his congratulations and the sincere fraternal feelings he showed, wishing the brotherly State of Qatar and its people further progress and development.
Sheikh Sultan’s statement reads, “The Ruler of Sharjah congratulates Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on his appointment as Vice President."
Sheikh Mohammed said, “I congratulate my brothers Sheikh Hazaa, Sheikh Tahnoun, Sheikh Mansour and Sheikh Khaled Bin Mohamed for the confidence in the President of the State. In you and your brothers, the leaders of the new generation, the march continues.”