Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called for a transparent investigation into the murder of RFE/RL journalist Mohammad Ilyas Dayee in the southern Afghan province of Helmand in what the Afghan government, the United Nations, and others condemned as an attack on press freedom in the war-torn country.
The 33-year-old Dayee was killed on November 12 after a magnetic bomb attached to his vehicle exploded.
“This shocking action must not go unpunished and must not recur,” Reza Moïni, the head of RSF’s Iran-Afghanistan desk, said in a statement released on November 14.
“A fully transparent investigation is needed to identify and punish those responsible for this targeted bombing,” Moini added.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.
Dayee, who is survived by his wife and an 18-month-old daughter, worked for RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, known locally as Radio Azadi.
Dayee had recently told Human Rights Watch (HRW) that he had received numerous death threats warning him to stop his reporting on Taliban military operations.
“The killing of [Iliyas] Dayee simply for doing his job sends a chilling message to the Afghan media that reporting on the Taliban puts them in grave danger,” Patricia Gossman, associate Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on November 12.
The attack follows a similar bomb attack in Kabul on November 7 that killed a former popular TV news presenter for Afghanistan’s TOLO TV and two other civilians in the capital, Kabul.
In May, two employees of a privately owned television station, including a reporter and a technician, were killed on the spot when a minibus carrying members of the TV channel’s staff was the target of a roadside bomb in Kabul.
Violence and chaos have increased in Afghanistan in recent months even as government negotiators and the Taliban are meeting in Qatar to find an end to decades of relentless war in Afghanistan.
No breakthrough has been reported since the talks started in September.