BBC reporter and famed photographer among 31 killed in Afghanistan

Ten journalists were among 31 people killed in a series of attacks in Afghanistan on Monday, including a BBC reporter...

Posted: Apr 30, 2018 10:53 PM
Updated: Apr 30, 2018 10:53 PM

Ten journalists were among 31 people killed in a series of attacks in Afghanistan on Monday, including a BBC reporter and a well-known photographer who had written of the dangers of reporting in the Afghan capital.

Nine journalists were killed in suicide bombings in the capital, Kabul. Shah Marai of Agence France Presse was among a group of journalists who died when a bomber disguised as a TV cameraman detonated a second bomb at the site of an earlier explosion. Both attacks were claimed by Islamic State.

In a separate incident, Ahmad Shah, a 29-year-old reporter with the BBC's Afghan service, was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Khost province, the BBC said. Najib Sharifi, director of the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee, said Shah was on his way home when the attack took place.

The other fatalities were Mahram Durani, a correspondent with Radio Free Europe and Ebadullah Hananzai, a reporter with the same outlet, Yar Mohammad Tokhi, a cameraman with TOLONews, Ghazi Rasoul, a reporter with 1TV and cameraman Nawroz Ali Khamosh, Ali Saleemi and Saleem Talash from Mashal TV. Sabawoon Kakar, an RFE cameraman, died in the hospital from his injuries.

The first blast happened at around at 8 a.m. local time in the Shashdarak area of the city, where the US embassy and Afghan government buildings are located, prompting journalists to rush to the scene.

The second explosion came as the attacker detonated explosives as journalists huddled around the scene, Kabul City Police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai told CNN.

In a statement issued via the social-media app Telegram, ISIS said a "martyrdom brother" blew his explosive vest up among a group of "apostates" and killed and wounded a number of them. The group named the first bomber as Qaqaa al-Kurdi and the second attacker as Khalil al-Qurshi. ISIS did not provide any evidence for the claim.

Eight journalists, including at least one woman, died in the blasts, according to Sharifi.

In a tweet Monday, AFP's Global News Director Michele Leridon honored Marai for his "extraordinary strength, courage and generosity" and praised his "consummate professionalism" and "sensitivity" during his 15 years covering the Afghan conflict for the news agency.

AFP said the death of its "treasured colleague" was "a devastating blow".

Leridon sent "condolences to the families of other journalists killed in this terrible attack".

A further 45 people were injured in the two incidents, and have been taken to city hospitals, according to Ministry of Public Health spokesman Wahid Majroh.

The agency said Marai joined AFP as a driver in 1996, the year the Taliban seized power, and in 2002 he became a full-time photo stringer, rising through the ranks to become chief photographer in the bureau.

AFP's Leridon said in a statement, "This is a devastating blow, for the brave staff of our close-knit Kabul bureau and the entire agency. Shah Marai was a treasured colleague who spent more than 15 years documenting the tragic conflict in Afghanistan for AFP."

He leaves behind two wives and six children, including a newborn daughter, AFP said.

In an essay entitled "When Hope is Gone," written in 2016 -- before the birth of his sixth child -- he acknowledged the danger of living in the city with his young family.

"I don't dare to take my children for a walk. I have five and they spend their time cooped up inside the house.

"Every morning as I go to the office and every evening when I return home, all I think of are cars that can be booby-trapped, or of suicide bombers coming out of a crowd. I can't take the risk."

The site of the explosions was close to NATO's Afghan headquarters, the US embassy and Afghan government buildings, including the Presidential palace, the Defense Ministry and the headquarters of Afghanistan's intelligence services.

US Ambassador John Bass responded to the attack by restating the US resolve to combat terrorists in Afghanistan.

"I condemn today's terrible Kabul attack (and) reaffirm our commitment (to) stand with the Afghan people in their fight for peace (and) security across Afghanistan. We mourn for those murdered, including the brave journalists who stand for truth in the face of violence," he wrote on Twitter.

Spate of attacks

A few hours after the strikes in Kabul, an attack in Kandahar Province killed 11 students at a local religious school. The suicide bomber had targeted a convoy of Romanian soldiers. Five of them were injured in the blast.

No group has yet claimed responsibility.

Afghanistan has witnessed a spate of attacks in recent weeks. Days ago at least six people were killed, including two Afghan soldiers, when a car bomb exploded in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province.

On April 22, a suicide blast killed 57 people -- including at least five children -- and wounded over 100 more at a voter registration center. That attack was preceded by a car bombing in southern Afghanistan in which at least 13 people were killed and 35 others injured.

The incident took place outside a sports stadium in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. A wrestling match was taking place inside the stadium at the time of the attack.

The uptick in violence comes despite reports around six weeks ago that suggested some factions of the Taliban had expressed interested in pursuing peace talks with the Afghan government.

Those reports came on the heels of an Afghan government announcement in February that it would be willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential ceasefire agreement with the Islamist militant group.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs400
Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 72°
Angola
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 69°
Decatur
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
Van Wert
68° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
Storms return for Monday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events