The Islamic State (IS) militant group has claimed responsibility for two suicide bombings in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.
The Associated Press reports that the suicide bombers killed at least 25 people, including nine Afghan journalists. At least 45 other people were reported wounded.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said three of its journalists were among those killed.
The Afghan Journalist Safety Committee, a local group, strongly condemned the bombings. They are being described as the deadliest attacks ever on media workers in Afghanistan.
Afghan officials and witnesses said the first bomb exploded in central Kabul during the early morning hours, when many people were going to work. They said a bomber riding a motorbike caused the explosion near an office of the National Directorate of Security, the country’s intelligence agency.
When rescue workers and media crews gathered in the area minutes later, a second attacker who looked like a journalist caused his bomb to explode. A Kabul police official told VOA that the second explosion caused most of the casualties.
“We condemn in the strongest terms possible the cowardly attacks in Kabul by two suicide bombers that killed and injured Afghan forces and innocent Afghan citizens,” said American General John Nicholson. He commands United States forces and NATO’s non-combatant operations in the country.
Hours after the attack in Kabul, unknown gunmen killed an Afghan journalist working for the British Broadcasting Corporation in the border city of Khost.
A short time later, the Afghan Taliban released a statement. The group denied involvement in the attacks in both cities.
Media workers coming under attack
Worsening security conditions across Afghanistan have added to the difficulties facing journalists. At least 15 journalists were killed there in 2017, many in targeted attacks on the media.
In a report last week, the group Reporters Without Borders accused the Taliban and Islamic State militants of using terror to create what it called “information black holes.”
In some parts of Afghanistan, it said, the Taliban forced the media to pay taxes that were likened to payments made to free kidnap victims from captivity.
The report said, “Many governors and local officials are meanwhile unable to accept the principle of media independence, and the police and military have been implicated in several cases of violence against journalists."
In other news, Afghan officials said a suicide car bombing killed at least 11 people in southern Kandahar province. That attack wounded 16 others, including five Romanian soldiers. An area police spokesman told VOA the attack targeted foreign forces. He added that those killed were all students at a nearby religious school.
NATO later confirmed the vehicle-born explosive device wounded eight of its service members.
In addition, several Afghan police and Afghan civilians were either killed or wounded in the explosion, the alliance said in a statement.
American General John Nicholson was reported as saying, "Our thoughts and prayers are with those wounded, and with the innocent Afghans whose lives were needlessly taken from them by the enemies of Afghanistan."
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Ayaz Gul reported this story for VOANews.com. George Grow adapted his report for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.
Words in This Story
journalist – n. a writer or reporter of the news
casualty – n. someone who is hurt or killed during an attack or incident
cowardly – adj. lacking bravery; of or involving being afraid
combatant – n. fighter; attacker
principle – n. a goal or ideal
implicate – v. to link; to suggest
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