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Local radio station blown up in eastern Afghanistan

The Afghanistan Journalists Center condemns a bomb attack on a local private radio station in Kama district of eastern Nanagarhar province. The explosion destroyed the station and forced it to stop broadcasting.

The Qalam (Pen) station was blown up at 6:30 am on Monday 24 March 2014, government spokesperson Ahmad Zia Abdulzai told the local media. An investigation has been launched into the attack.

Radio Qalam Editor-in-Chief Inamullah Miakhel said the unidentified gunmen had planted explosives in the building on the night of 23 March.

He added that the building was destroyed along with transmission equipment worth US$250,000. The radio station was launched in March 2013 and was broadcasting for four hours daily. Its programs were focused on political, cultural, social and religious issues.

Miakhel told AFJC: "The Taliban denied an involvement in the explosion, but - three months ago - an unknown man calling himself a Taliban fighter warned that they would attack the station if we continued to broadcast music." The threats were reported to the National Directorate of Security, the editor-in-chief added.

Previously on 19 November 2013, another non-government radio station, Hamisheh Bahar (Always Spring) in Jalalabad, the capital of the of the province, was targeted by gunmen who beat security guards and journalists and then destroyed transmission equipment, interrupting the station's broadcasts.

AFJC denounces the incident as another brazen attack on media outlets and is concerned that such incidents are bound to undermine freedom of speech, ahead of the upcoming elections. The organization calls for those responsible to be rapidly arrested and brought to justice.

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