Afghan radio station target of bomb attack.

An independent public media company in Afghanistan, the Killid Group (TKG), has been targeted in a bomb attack on one of its radio stations in the city of Jalalabad.ESP

The Executive Director of the Killid Radio group, Najiba Ayubi, (pictured) says it was one of the network’s 11 provincial radio stations, which the group operates along with two national magazines. There were no casualties, however the station in the eastern province of Nangarhar, has been extensively damaged.

The group advertises its editorial policy as one which “embraces one main concept: Afghan ownership of Afghanistan's process ... a commitment to one principle: people's right to be informed and to be heard.”

Najiba Ayubi, who led the entire Killid group for more than a decade, was a keynote speaker at IAWRT's biennial in New Delhi, India, in September. There she described her pain about the disasterous and worsening situation for Afghanistan’s media, where scores have been killed and journalists work with the constant threat of bombing and attacks. She continues working in Afghanistan despite receiving death threats herself, and was a recipient of the 2013 international Women’s Media Foundation ‘Courage in Journalism Award’.   

She has told IAWRT that two explosions targeted Nangarhar Killid Radio early in the evening of October 10th.  “A caller to the head of the Jalalabad radio station introduced himself as a ISIS (Daesh) spokesman, and claimed responsibility for the attack.” However she says there is no confirmation of the caller’s identity or affiliation.

There have been a number of bomb attacks in Jalalabad in the past ten months, where there is heavy fighting between militants purporting to be from the Taliban and the Islamic State group. The United States has also launched drone attacks targeting what it believes to be militant strongholds for both groups.

The increasingly dangerous environment for Afghanistan’s media was given further confirmation in the following days, with Khaama press reporting that  the Taliban  is threatening to attack private TV stations, 1TV and Tolo in Kabul, for spreading “propaganda” against the Taliban.

“The bomb attack on the Killid radio station is one more example of how difficult it is for journalists to do their work today,” says Gunilla Ivarsson, President of IAWRT. “The situation for women journalists in countries like Afghanistan is especially difficult, with hundreds leaving the profession and even Afghanistan itself.”