Another journalist killed by gunmen in Afghanistan

Malalai Maiwind, an Afghan woman journalist, was killed along with her driver by unknown gunmen on Thursday morning in the eastern city of Jalalabad

Shraddha Nand Bhatnagar Dec 10, 2020

Malalai Maiwind, an Afghan woman journalist, was killed along with her driver by unknown gunmen on Thursday morning in the eastern city of Jalalabad. She was the second local journalist killed in a month in the war-torn country.  

“Gunmen targeted Malalai at around 7:10 am (local time) in PD 3 district of the Jalalabad when she was on her way to the office,” Ataullah Khogyani, the spokesperson of the provincial governor was quoted as saying by TOLOnews. 

Malalai was working with Enikass Radio and TV. Her driver was also killed. No group has claimed the responsibility for the attack. 

Women form 17 percent of the total workforce in the Afghan media and 11 female journalists have been killed since 2001. 

Just days back, Farida Nekzada, a senior woman Afghan journalist and the director of Centre of the Protection of the Afghan Women Journalists, wrote an article for the South Asia Monitor saying: “Women journalists ( in Afghanistan) are particularly vulnerable not only because of their profession but also due to their gender, which makes them a double target.”

She said, “After 2010, unfortunately, the conditions for journalists, especially women journalists, have become more difficult and dangerous. It had a negative effect and most of them either quit their media jobs or turned to other work.” 

Afghanistan has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists as they have been targeted continuously for their conflict reporting. Last month, Elyas Dayee, a local journalist working with Radio Liberty, was assassinated in Lashkargah district of Helmand province in Afghanistan. 

Dayee too received multiple threats to stop his reporting as he had been covering the fighting in Lashkargah just before his death, said the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) in its report. 

Speaking to the South Asia Monitor,  Zahra Rahimi, a journalist who works for TOLOnews,  said, “ As a female journalist working in the country which is deadliest for journalists in the world, I am concerned about my safety.” 

“Everyone who is somehow active and bold is a legitimate target now. This is not the first incident and precisely will not be the last one,” she added. 

Zahra also blamed the Afghan government for not sharing its findings regarding some of the past attacks on journalists. The Afghan government has been facing heat from journalists for not sharing information regarding the killing of a former TOLOnews anchor Yama Siawash.  

Zahra said, “No one knows who is/are behind these targeted killings. The whole people are kept in dark and we don’t why we are being killed.” 

A report by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) estimated that targeted killings accounted, including those of IEDs, for a whopping 45 percent of total civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2020.


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