ISLAMABAD - Unknown gunmen killed a female journalist and her driver in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province Thursday morning.
Malalai Maiwand was on her way to work in the provincial capital, Jalalabad, when two gunmen opened fire on her car.
Haji Zalamy, the director of Enikass radio and television where Maiwand worked, said the journalist died on the spot while her driver, Tahir Khan, succumbed to his wounds later in the hospital.
Zalmay said that the station had received security threats but that they were not specific to any individual.
His station was attacked several times in recent years, including in a bomb blast and a rocket attack. Zalmay himself was kidnapped for ransom and released after six months.
Dr. Zahir Adil, a spokesman for the provincial health department of Nangarhar, confirmed that Maiwand’s body was brought to the provincial hospital.
Maiwand had been working for Enikass TV for eight years, where she hosted a morning show.
President Ashraf Ghani, along with several Kabul-based ambassadors and the European Union, have condemned the killing, as have Afghan media and rights groups.
The office of the EU in Afghanistan tweeted that attacks on “media representatives are attacks on the freedom of speech and can never be tolerated. We expect this heinous crime to be investigated & perpetrators brought to justice.”
Ross Wilson, the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. embassy in Kabul, demanded the “killers be brought to justice.”
Maiwand’s killing comes days after the EU, NATO, and the U.S. issued a strong joint statement against targeted killing of journalists, religious leaders, rights activists, students, civil society activists, and other civilians in Afghanistan.
The statement called them “savage attacks against Afghan blood” and “attacks on the very peace process” which is currently ongoing in the country and in Doha, Qatar, where a government team is negotiating with the Taliban.
Afghanistan is one of the deadliest countries for the media worldwide, with over 30 journalists killed directly for their work there in the past 10 years, according to the press freedom organization, Committee to Protect Journalists.
There have been recent attacks that targeted particular journalists.
Last month, Elyas Dayee, a reporter from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Pashto language service known as Radio Azadi, was killed in a magnetic bomb attack in Helmand province.
Another journalist killed last month was Yama Siawash, who worked for local TV station TOLOnews.