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Afghan Journalists Boycott Taliban Reportage Over Colleague’s Murder
Journalists in Afghanistan are staying away from reporting on the Taliban in the country in protest of the cold murder of their colleague, Sardar Ahmad, a senior reporter with the Agence France-Presse, AFP, by four teenage gunmen who stormed the Serena Hotel last Thursday.
The ABC News reports that the group, made up of more than 50 journalists, with the name “the Afghan Journalist Family”, representing Afghan and international media outlets, alleged on facebook that the Taliban carried out the attack, “which can never be justified, solely for the purposes of news coverage and projecting terror among Afghan citizens.”
“Therefore, the journalism family in Afghanistan, in a collective decision, has decided to boycott coverage of news related to the Taliban for a period of 15 days, refraining from broadcasting any information that could further the Taliban’s claimed purpose of terror,” the group added.
The journalists also asked the Taliban for an explanation of “how they justify the shooting from a close-range of innocent children.”
Ahmad, who reported for the AFP in the Kabul bureau, was shot and killed, along with his wife and two of his three children, in the attack.
His third child, a son, is still in emergency treatment for injuries he sustained in the attack.
The late reporter who is from Afghanistan had been with AFP since 2003 and was described as “courageous” and one of the “best journalists” at the organization for his coverage of the tensions within Afghanistan.
AFP chairman, Emmanuel Hoog, praised Ahmad for his “exceptional coverage of the news in extremely difficult conditions.”
“This is an immensely painful and enormous loss for Agence France-Presse,” Hoog said.
“During the 11 years he spent with AFP in Kabul, he always exercised immense courage and objectivity when reporting, despite the risks faced by journalists in that country,” added Gilles Campion, AFP’s Asia-Pacific regional director.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack which they say was targeted at “foreign invaders and puppets of high-ranking officials.”
At least 22 persons were killed in the attack, including two children.