Sunday 15 September 2019

BBC journalist among dozens killed in day of carnage

Mourners next to the grave of photographer Shah Marai. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
Mourners next to the grave of photographer Shah Marai. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

Rahim Faiez and Amir Shah in Kabul

One of the BBC's reporters in Afghanistan has been killed in an attack in the eastern Khost province, the broadcaster said.

Ahmad Shah (29) had worked for the BBC's Afghan service for more than a year and "had already established himself as a highly capable journalist who was a respected and popular member of the team".

He was killed on the same day a co-ordinated double suicide bombing in the capital, Kabul, killed 25 people, including at least nine other journalists.

BBC World Service Director Jamie Angus called it a "devastating loss" and sent his "sincere condolences to Ahmad Shah's friends and family and the whole BBC Afghan team".

Talib Mangal, spokesman for the provincial governor in Khost, said Mr Shah was shot dead, without providing further details.

The suicide bombing attack, claimed by Isil, was the deadliest to target journalists since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

Journalist Ahmad Shah
Journalist Ahmad Shah

A few hours later another suicide car bombing in Kandahar killed 11 children, police in the southern province said.

Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that the news agency's chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, was among those killed in Kabul.

AFP said Mr Marai died in the second blast which targeted a group of journalists who had rushed to the scene of the earlier suicide attack in the capital.

Sediqullah Tawhidi, an official from the committee, said a cameraman from the local Tolo TV was also among those killed.

Police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai said the first suicide bomber in Kabul was on a motorbike, while the second attacker was among the crowd of reporters who rushed to the scene of the first attack, pretending to be one of the media.

He added that the second attacker then detonated his explosives while still among the reporters.

The suicide attacks took place in the central Shash Darak area, which is home to the Nato headquarters and a number of embassies in Afghanistan.

In the Kandahar attack, an official said a suicide bomber targeted a Nato convoy in the district of Daman, but killed 11 children from a religious school near the site of the blast.

The children from the madrasa had gathered around the convoy when the bomber struck, one witness said.

Irish Independent

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