The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Afghan Independent Journalists Association (AIJA) in condemning the deadly suicide attack on the Afghanistan Public Radio and Television (RTA) station at Jalalabad city in Nangrahar province on May 17. The IFJ demands immediate concrete security measures to protect journalists and media in Afghanistan.
Four media workers including a technician and a producer at the RTA were killed in the attack and 17 others injured when four attackers, including two suicide bombers, forced their way into the RTA station at around 9:30 am. The two suicide bombers blew themselves up at the front gate and outside the main building while other attackers entered the main building. It took the security forces more than three hours to end the assault.
It was not immediately clear if RTA journalists and staff were among those injured, but many of the journalists were trapped inside the building during the attack. The station building was partly damaged in the attack.
Samandar Khan, the AIJA president, said: “The AIJA condemns the attack in the strongest terms and we are working closely with officials to support journalists and media workers at the RTA. RTA Nangrahar is a national media station serving not only military or security bases but civilians too.”
He further added: “The issue of serious threats to media and journalists in Nangarhar was frequently shared with state authorities, but they didn’t take the protection of journalists and media seriously. The AIJA is calling on the government again to take strong measures for better security of journalists and media in the province.”
“The IFJ condemns the attack on state broadcaster. The IFJ and our affiliate AIJA has been demanding security for journalists and media in Afghanistan but the responses have been far from sufficient. This shocking attack serves to highlight the dangers in which the media are operating in Afghanistan, which is one of the world's deadliest countries for journalists.”
Thirteen journalists were killed in Afganistan last year, according to IFJ statistics.