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Gunmen attack Afghanistan Times’ editor-in-chief

ateicKABUL: Unidentified gunmen attacked the Afghanistan Times’ editor-in-chief, Abdul Saboor Sarir, in the highly fortified Afghan capital on late Sunday night (9th October).

The unknown gunmen, driving a Hilux pick-up, have stopped the editor-in-chief of the Kabul-based English newspaper at gunpoint on Sunday around 9:00 pm, and took his vehicle, laptop and cell phones after wounding him.

The incident occurred in Khwaja Bughra area of Kabul City when Sarir was on way to home from office. The area which is in the 15th Police District is only 3.5 kilometers away from Ministry of Interior.

Abdul Saboor Sarir sustained head injuries in the attack. Fortunately, he is in stable condition. “I was on my way to home when three gunmen stopped me. They hit me with gun buts. They told my brother that they would kill him if he resisted or informed the police,” Sarir said.

Police has launched investigation in to the attack. However, it is not the first time that Mr. Sarir came under attack. He was repeatedly threatened by different groups of dire consequences. Five months ago, unknown people tried to abduct him in the fourth police district when a police vehicle appeared on the scene and the kidnappers escaped.

After investigation of police, it will become clear that whether the gunmen were carjackers or those who threatened him regularly. But, Sarir in the past repeatedly requested the law enforcement agencies for security as this year different militant groups issued threats to independent media.

Condemning the incident, journalists urged the government to pursue the case seriously and arrest the culprits. They also asked the relevant authorities to provide security to the independent media organizations.

The Afghanistan Journalists’ Center, defending the rights of journalists in the country, on Monday condemned the attack on Mr Sarir and asked the concerned departments to arrest the perpetrators “as soon as possible”.

Presidential Spokesman Haroon Chaghansuri condemned the attack on Abdul Saboor Sarir. He said President Ashraf Ghani and all law enforcement agencies are committed to provide security to the journalists. He said, “We are committed to freedom of speech.Protection to journalists shall be top priority of security agencies.”

Last week, the country’s National Security Council approved the media protection law. The announcement will be made soon.

Terrorists on different occasions warned independent media organizations to alter their policies in support of them. Threats, harassment and attacks against journalists working for independent local media outlets have turned uglier.

This year in January, a suicide bomber, riding an explosive-filled car, targeted a mini-bus of TOLO TV in the capital city, Kabul. At least eight people were killed and 28 others injured.

It is worth mentioning that in June 2016, Nai—an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan, said that cases of violence against journalists has increased in the country. In June, 10 cases of violence against journalists were registered.


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