Unknown gunmen have attacked and injured the editor-in-chief of a leading newspaper in Afghanistan, the latest such attack in a country where journalists are often subjected to violence and threats.
The overnight attack on Abdul Saboor Sarir of the Kabul-based English daily Afghanistan Times took place in a highly secured part of the Afghan capital.
Three armed men intercepted his vehicle in the Khwaja Bughra area of the city while he was returning home from the office and took away the car, Sarir’s laptop and cell phones after inflicting head injuries on him, according to the newspaper.
The independent Afghanistan Journalists’ Center (AFJC), defending the rights of journalists and media persons in the war-torn country, on Monday condemned the violence.
The media watchdog called for the government to immediately launch an investigation into the assault to identify the suspects and “take swift action against those responsible.”
No one has claimed responsibility for the violence.
“Police [have] launched [an] investigation in to the attack. However, it is not the first time that. Sarir [has] came under attack. He was repeatedly threatened by different groups of dire consequences,” said the AFJC statement.
It added the Taliban and Islamic State are among the militant outfits that have issued death threats to him.
Local and international media defenders say militants are not the only enemies of media freedom and responsible for violence against journalists in Afghanistan.
They assert that police, intelligence services and local politicians have also contributed to the surge in violence.
The deadliest attack against the media took place in January when a Taliban suicide bomber struck a mini bus in Kabul that was transporting staff of the TOLO news, Afghanistan’s largest 24-hour news station. The blast killed seven employees of the station.
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2016, photo, a relative holds a picture of Zainab Mirzaee, killed when the Taliban attacked a bus carrying employees of Afghanistan’s biggest media company on Jan. 20.