Kabul Diary - 24 August 2009

Amanullah Ghilzai

*Amanullah Ghilzai is Managing Editor of VOA Pashto Afghan service
Day 10 in Afghanistan

24 August
- After coming to the office this morning I got a very bed news that a prominent Afghan journalist was killed by some armed unknown men across the Afghan border inside the Pakistani terrotery. Janullah Hashimzada worked for the Associated Press and the Afghan news Pojhwakbut and was one of the most active Afghan journalists who mostly reported on the tribal regions of Pakistan. No one has claimed responsibility for the murder. Hashimzada was going from the Torkham border town to Peshawar. The assailants in a car intercepted the van and shot him dead, a friend of the journalist told Pajhwok Afghan News based in Kabul .
The assassination of Janullah Hashimzada is a strike reminder to all journalists who are working in war zones like Afghanistan and the tribal regions of Pakistan to exercise maxim care while traveling inside Afghanistan and Pakistan.  

Any body who visits Afghanistan feels insecure, particularly in southern and eastern parts of the country and even in Kabul. There are thousands of westerners in Kabul but they can hardly be seen on the city streets. In Kabul, I have noticed that foreigners, particularly westerners, avoid visiting the city and prefer to stay indoor as they could be an easy target for the terrorists and criminals. Even many Afghans who return from western countries avoid wearing foreign made clothes in Kabul as they could be mistaken for westerners. Initially, I didn’t care about this basic rule and several times went out in shorts but after the tragic news of Janaullah’s killing my colleagues in Kabul have strongly advised me not to wear shorts any more while in Afghanistan. I followed their advice and replaced the short by wearing jeans.

When it comes to political news there was not much in Kabul today except for a press conference by the head of the Afghan Election Commission who updated the journalists about the counting process of votes and gave an indication that the preliminary results of the Afghan Presidential Election would be announced tomorrow on Tuesday.

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