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Four media workers killed in terrorist attack on Afghan state TV station

A man listens to Islamic State Radio at his shop in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 10 January 2016
A man listens to Islamic State Radio at his shop in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 10 January 2016

AP Photos/Mohammad Anwar Danishyar

This statement was originally published on afjc.af on 17 May 2017.

The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) condemns the deadly terrorist attack on the provincial branch of the Afghan state TV station in Jalal Abad, capital of eastern Nangarhar province.

Gunmen stormed the local headquarters of National Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) on 17 May 2017 at about 10:30 am local time when most of the employees were at work.

Nangarhar Police Chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi said the attack began with an explosion, followed by a gun battle with Afghan security forces, which had come to an end by the afternoon.

"Four employees of RTA including two technicians, a driver and a guard and two soldiers were martyred in the attack," Rahim added.

According to the police chief, the first attacker detonated his explosives at the entrance door of the RTA compound and then three others entered the compound which is close to the provincial governor's office.

The Islamic State group (ISIS/Daesh) claimed responsibility for the suicide raid via its pseudo-news agency, Amaq. Local officials say the three attackers were killed and one was arrested during the raid.

Inhamullah Miakhial, a spokesman for the provincial hospital, said it has received at least 18 wounded people.

Both the Taliban and ISIS' affiliates in Afghanistan are active in Nangarhar, a mountainous province that borders Pakistan.

Several media outlets have been attacked by militants especially by ISIS in the past two years in Nangarhar. The group was actively threatening media outlets and journalists with death on the militants' local radio station before it was destroyed in an air strike earlier this month. The militants bombed a building housing two local radio stations and attacked the local offices of the leading news agency Pajhwok Afghan and Voice of America in the provincial capital, Jalal Abad.

AFJC's record shows that the killing of the RTA staff brought to more than 72 the number of journalists and media workers killed in Afghanistan since the falling of the Taliban regime in 2001; 2016, with 13 deaths, is the deadliest year for the media community in Afghanistan.

AFJC reiterates its concern about the safety of journalists and media outlets in Afghanistan and calls on the Afghan government and particularly on the security forces to strengthen their efforts to secure journalists' safety, and on media institutions to put in place all possible means to limit risks for their staff.

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