RFE/RL reporter killed in targeted bombing in southern Afghanistan
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled that a bomb placed under a radio reporter’s car in southwestern Afghanistan killed him and injured his brother, a fellow journalist, on 12 November. RSF firmly condemns the increase in violence against media personnel in Afghanistan and urges the authorities to give them better protection.
The device killed Mohammad Aliyas Dayee – who worked for the Pashto-language service of Radio Azadi, the Afghan offshoot of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) – in Lashkargah, the capital of Helmand province. His injured brother, Mojtaba Mohammadi, works for Deutsche Welle, the German public broadcaster.
Aged 32, Dayee had worked for the US government-funded RFE/RL since 2008. he was the father of a little girl.
“This shocking action must not go unpunished and must not recur,” said Reza Moïni, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk. “A fully transparent investigation is needed to identify and punish those responsible for this targeted bombing. And it is not just the Afghan state, police and security services that must do everything possible to protect journalists and media. The international community must also take all necessary measures to protect journalists who are brave enough to work for international and local media.”
Both brothers worked for media outlets that are well-known and supported by the international community. RFE/RL journalists have for years been regarded as “spies” by Afghanistan’s various armed non-state groups including the Taliban.
Taliban spokesman Zabiholah Mojahed denied any Taliban role in this bombing the next day. But posts on several pro-Taliban social media accounts hailed “the death of a spy for the United States.”
RSF condemns the government’s inaction and the international community’s indifference, which in its view have contributed to the increase in the climate of terror in Afghanistan – terror targeting civil society activists, political actors and the military as well as journalists. RSF has registered at least 20 threats against journalists and media since the start of the year.
Afghanistan is ranked 122nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.