But since 2018, more than 30 media workers and journalists have been killed in Afghanistan, according to a recent United Nations report. From September 2020 to January of this year, at least six journalists and media workers were killed in such attacks, according to the U.N. report.
Civilian casualties overall jumped after peace negotiations between the government and the Taliban began in September, particularly a wave of targeted killings of judges, prosecutors, civil society activists and journalists.
The recent attacks have amounted to an “intentional, premeditated, and deliberate targeting of human rights defenders, journalists and media workers,” the U.N. report said. “With a clear objective of silencing specific individuals by killing them, while sending a chilling message to the broader community.”
The New York Times documented the deaths of at least 136 civilians and 168 security force members in such targeted killings and assassinations in 2020, more than nearly any other year of the war.
The wanton deaths, often in populated areas such as Kabul and other cities, have caused public outcry from many Afghans for better security, especially for vulnerable people like journalists and human rights workers. Government investigations and accountability for the killings have been infrequent at best.
The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee said in a statement that “practical and effective steps must be taken to ensure the safety and security of journalists.”