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Prominent Journalist Killed in Eastern Afghanistan

Rahmatullah Nikzad , a prominent local journalist, was shot dead by unknown assailants in Afghanistan's central Ghazni province, Dec. 21, 2020.

Unidentified gunmen in Afghanistan killed a senior journalist in eastern Ghazni province Monday evening.

A local police spokesman told VOA that Rahmatullah Nikzad, head of the journalists’ union in the area, was attacked just outside his home in the provincial capital, also named Ghazni.

The slain reporter was associated with several foreign media outlets.

Faisal Naveed, a local journalist, told VOA Nikzad was shot three times in the chest and rushed to a local hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

No one immediately took responsibly for the death of Nikzad, the fifth journalist to have been killed in Afghanistan in the last two months, and seventh this year.

The Taliban quickly distanced itself from the incident and denounced it, saying, “As a solid journalist, Nikzad maintained good relations” with the insurgent group.

Global media watchdogs describe Afghanistan as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists. They have repeatedly urged the government to take effective measures to protect the media and to investigate and prosecute those behind violent crimes against journalists.

"Journalists are not safe in Afghanistan. Murky circles continue to gun down journalists in order to crush the right to inform,” tweeted Torke Farhadi, a former Afghan government adviser and political commentator.

More than 30 journalists have been killed directly for their work in Afghanistan over the past 10 years, according to the press freedom organization, Committee to Protect Journalists.