9 journalists among 20+ killed in twin bombings in Afghan capital

Journalists among victims of deadly Kabul blasts                         Read more

Meanwhile, in the southern province of Kandahar, 11 children were killed and 16 others were injured, including five Romanian soldiers, in a vehicle bomb attack in the town of Haji Abdullah Khan.

Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA said in a statement, "These attacks caused untold human suffering to Afghan families; UNAMA condemns them in the strongest possible terms. I am furthermore outraged by the attack which appears to have deliberately targeted journalists".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strongly condemned the "senseless and barbaric" bombings in Kabul. The threats faced by the media in Afghanistan are multi-faceted.

Islamic State and Taliban regularly carry out attacks in the Afghan capital although neither have claimed responsibility for these latest bombings at the time of reporting.

A double suicide blast in Kabul killed 25 people, including Marai along with at least eight other journalists, in what Reporters Without Borders said was the most lethal single attack on the media since the fall of the Taliban.

At least 45 people were wounded in the twin attacks, according to Kabul police spokesman, Hashmat Stanekzai, who also said four policemen were among those killed. In November, gunmen and suicide bombers attacked an Afghan television station.

President Ashraf Ghani's government is under pressure on multiple fronts this year as it prepares to hold long-delayed legislative elections in October, while its security forces struggle to get the upper hand on the battlefield and prevent civilian casualties.

Ahmad Shah, 29, had been working for the BBC Afghan service for more than a year. He said five Romanian soldiers and two Afghan police officers were among the injured.

Among the dead were Shah Marai, veteran chief photographer for Agence France-Presse in Afghanistan, who had worked for the agency for 22 years.

A Reuters photographer was reportedly hurt by shrapnel.

Radio Free Europe said two of its journalists-Abadullah Hananzai and Moharram Durrani-were also among the dead.

The first attacker detonated his bomb on a motorcycle in the Shashdarak district of Kabul in the midst of the morning rush hour.

In the southern city of Kandahar, where NATO-led forces operate out of a big air base, 11 children were killed and 16 wounded when a suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden van into a foreign-force convoy, police said.

Spokesman for Kandahar police, Matiullah Zhman confirmed that the 11 children were studying in a nearby madrassa, a religious school and were victimized in this attack.



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