At least two dead as Afghan TV bus bombed in Kabul


KABUL: At least two people were killed when a bus carrying employees of an Afghan television station was bombed in Kabul on Sunday, an official said.

The “sticky bomb” — a type of homemade device often attached to vehicles with magnets — went off around 5:30pm (1300 GMT), interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said.

A “bus carrying the employees of Khurshid TV exploded in the Taimani area”, he said, referring to a bustling neighbourhood in central Kabul.

“As a result, a driver and a passerby were killed, and three more — including two employees of Khurshid TV — were injured.” Pictures on social media showed a small white bus with extensive damage to its front.

Zabiullah Doorandish, a journalist with Khurshid TV, said three of his colleagues had been injured, including one journalist.

“We had received a warning recently by the (security services), that the Taliban may target us,” he told AFP.

No group immediately claimed responsibility.

The Taliban in June threatened any media outlets broadcasting anti-Taliban advertisements.

“They shall become military targets for the mujahideen in the capital, provinces, cities and rural areas and none of their offices, journalists, workers and personnel shall retain any immunity,” the Taliban said in a June 24 statement.

Doorandish said he had not seen any anti-Taliban ads on the channel.

According to its Facebook page, the private Khurshid TV station is dedicating to showing cultural programmes that “preach the main values of journalism, democracy, national unity, creation of understanding & trust among people and help in visualizing and creating a bright future”.

The blast comes at the same time the US is negotiating with the Taliban for a possible peace agreement.

Afghanistan is the world’s deadliest place for journalists, who face many risks covering the conflict and who have sometimes been targeted for doing their job.

Media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reported that 2018 was the deadliest year on record for journalists in Afghanistan, with at least 15 media workers killed.