Published: Sat, May 05, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

United Nations expert condemns attacks on journalists in Kabul

United Nations expert condemns attacks on journalists in Kabul

Fighters are targeting journalists in Afghanistan because they are weakened and want more news coverage in order to undermine the country's electoral process ahead of an expected vote in October, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said on Monday.

The US would stand by the Afghan people and government and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission would continue as the Taliban were being driven to a political settlement, Mattis continued.

The Taliban and its affiliated groups are carrying out major terrorist attacks inside the Afghan capital to grab global media attention ahead of an election in October, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said.

Defense Secretary James Mattis on Tuesday sought to temper media reports that the Pentagon has taken a more optimistic outlook on Afghanistan, a day after a pair of suicide bombings in Kabul killed at least 35 people, including 10 journalists.

No-one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but both Taliban and Islamic State group are active and have repeatedly claimed attacks in Kabul. "The murder of journalists and other innocent people is a great testimony to what it is we stand for and more importantly what we stand against", he said. "The vibrant media landscape that has developed in Afghanistan will endure, in large part due to those journalists and media professionals who tragically died in today's attack, but whose courageous and steadfast work helped lay the foundation for Afghanistan's thriving and resilient independent media".

In a third attack 11 children were killed and 16 people wounded, including foreign and Afghan security force members, when a suicide attacker exploded his bomb-laden auto near a convoy in the southern province of Kandahar.

"It is high time that the United Nations sent a strong signal to the worldwide community and to local protagonists by appointing a Special Representative for the protection of journalists", Deloire added.

Sediqullah Tawhidi, an official from the Afghan Journalist Safety Committee, said a cameraman from the local Tolo TV also was killed.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference that the Trump administration "strongly condemns" the attacks that rocked the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, killing several members of the media.

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