A suicide car bomber targeted a van carrying journalists working for a private Afghan television channel on Wednesday, killing seven people during evening rush hour close to the national parliament in Kabul, officials said.
It was the latest in a series of suicide attacks in the Afghan capital that coincide with renewed efforts to revive a peace process with Taliban that broke down in July. The bomber targeted a vehicle owned by a company that works with Tolo News – Afghanistan’s first 24-hour news channel, Kabul Police Chief Abdul Rahman Rahimi said.
He did not say how many of those in the van were killed or wounded.
The Taliban openly threatened to target the television channel last year after it reported allegations of summary executions, rape, kidnappings and other abuses by its fighters during the battle for Kunduz. Taliban briefly captured the northern city last year, their biggest success in the 15-year insurgency, before being ousted by government forces. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s attack. The Taliban, who are fighting to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul could not be reached for comment. Tolo News has been one of the most active media operations in the country for years, employing dozens of journalists, many in volatile provinces.
The latest attack adds a dangerous new complication for local journalists working in a country already ranked as low as 122 out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index, a gauge of media freedom compiled by the group Reporters Without Borders.