Journalist Malala Maiwand killed in attack in eastern Afghanistan
A prominent defender of women’s rights in a country like Afghanistan, journalist Malalai Maiwand was shot and killed on Thursday along with the driver of the car in which she was traveling. An armed man attack her in Jalalabad, the capital of the province of Nangarhar, in the east of the country. This is the third murder of an information professional since the beginning of November. Gunmen fired at the car of the Afghan journalist, popular for her social activism, particularly in defense of girls’ right to education.
Maiwand worked as a journalist for Enikass Radio TV, in the Nangarhar region. Her murder is the latest in a series of targeted killings committed in the country against prominent civil society figures. Attacks on journalists, religious, human rights defenders, and students has been on the rise for a year, coinciding first with the agreement signed in February between the United States and the Taliban, and since September with the direct dialogue of the insurgents with the Government of Kabul in Doha.
A dozen diplomatic missions in Afghanistan, including those of the European Union, the United States and NATO, condemned last Monday, through a joint statement, this wave of assassinations that seek to silence the diversity of opinions in the country.
Danger for informants
Afghanistan is also considered one of the most dangerous countries for journalists, ranking 122 out of 180 in the Report of world press freedom rankings 2020.
Just last month, Afghan journalists Elyas Dayee of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty and prominent television host Yama Syawash, who was linked to the popular private channel Tolo, were killed in two limpet bomb attacks planted in their vehicles.
Threats to the media from both the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group and the Taliban have been repeated in the almost two decades of conflict in Afghanistan, one of the worst in January 2016 also against Tolo, in which seven workers died.
In 2018, in the deadliest year for the press in the country, 20 journalists and media workers were killed and another 20 injured in incidents related to the exercise of their profession