Category: Press Releases, Asia, Afghanistan
By: Grayson Harbour, IPI

Journalist killed in Afghanistan

Radio presenter murdered while children watched

A supporter of Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah holds an Afghan flag during an election campaign rally in Paghman district of Kabul June 9, 2014. The second round of Afghanistan's presidential election will take place on June 14. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

By: Grayson Harbour, IPI

VIENNA, July 18, 2014 – The International Press Institute (IPI) today called on authorities in Afghanistan to apprehend the assailants who gunned down a journalist at his home last weekend.

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFCJ) reported that Khalid Agha Yaqubi, 27, was killed on Saturday in northern Afghanistan.

The AFCJ said Yaqubi was shot by assailants who had been searching for him and who opened fire after his child answered a knock at the door. Police said he sustained a gunshot wound to the throat and died on the way to the hospital.

A local radio correspondent, Yaqubi had been the producer and presenter of a radio program called Tak Tak (One by One), which has been covering social issues since 2010.

The motive for the killing was not initially known. Balkh provincial police chief Abdolrahman Rahimi said police had started an investigation and would find the murderers.

IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie condemned the murder and she called on the Afghan government to thoroughly investigate the incident.

“We offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Yaqubi’s family and colleagues, and we urge the Afghan authorities to immediately conduct a swift, transparent and full investigation to bring the killers to justice,” she said. “We condemn all violent acts against journalists and we remind authorities that impunity for crimes against journalists will only embolden future attackers.”

Yaqubi is the fourth journalist to be killed in Afghanistan since the start of the year.

His death comes two months after a police officer opened fire on Kathy Gannon and Anja Niedringhaus, an Associated Press reporter and photographer, respectively, at a security checkpoint, killing Niedringhaus and wounding Gannon.

Two other journalists have been killed in Afghanistan this year.

Nils Horner, a Swedish radio journalist working in Kabul, was shot in the back of the head while conducting street interviews on March 11. The 51-year-old journalist had covered the U.S. military campaigns in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003.

The body of Noor Ahmad Noori, an Afghani radio journalist reporting from Lakar Gah, was found in a bag on Jan. 23. Noori worked for the local radio station Bost and was a former translator for The New York Times.