Deadly day in Afghanistan: 10 journalists, 1 US soldier, and multiple civilians killed in 4 separate incidents

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
  • Monday was a deadly day in Afghanistan, as 10 journalists, one US soldier, and multiple civilians were killed in four separate incidents across the country.
  • One US soldier was killed and another wounded in an incident in eastern Afghanistan.
  • A BBC journalist was also shot dead in an incident in Khost province.
  • Eight Romanian soldiers, as well as multiple Afghan police officers and civilians, were killed and wounded in a car bombing in Kandahar province.

Monday was a deadly day in Afghanistan, as 10 journalists, one US soldier, Romanian soldiers, Afghan soldiers, and multiple civilians were killed in four separate incidents across the country.

Two suicide bombers detonated their devices near Afghan intelligence headquarters in Kabul in the first incident, killing at least 25 people and wounding 49, according to the Associated Press.

The first suicide bomber blew himself up while on a motorbike, and the second one was on foot, blending in with a group of journalists who had rushed to the scene after the first explosion. He set off his device while mixed in with the journalists, the Associated Press reported.

Among the journalists killed was a veteran AFP photographer, Shah Marai, and three RFE/RL journalists.

Journalists from TV 1 and Mashal TV were also killed, and Reuters and Al Jazeera reporters were wounded, according to Reporters Without Borders, adding that it was the deadliest attack on journalists since 2001.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack online, the Associated Press reported.

Later, a US soldier was killed and another was wounded in combat in eastern Afghanistan, according to a CENTCOM statement. Multiple Afghan soldiers were also killed and wounded during the operation.

The wounded US soldier was taken to Bagram Airfield’s hospital, where his condition was stabilised, the statement said.

“My thoughts and those of US Forces-Afghanistan are with the families and friends of our fallen and wounded service members,” Gen. John Nicholson said in the CENTCOM statement. “Their valiancy in battle, and that of the brave Afghan partners they fought alongside, will endure in our hearts and history.”

In another separate incident, a car bomb detonated in Kandahar province, killing and wounding Romanian soldiers, multiple Afghan police officers and civilians, according to Al Jazeera. The attack killed 16 people – 11 students and five Romanian soldiers.

In yet another attack on a journalist, Ahmad Shah, who worked for the BBC and contributed to Reuters, was shot dead while driving home in Khost province in eastern Afghanistan,according to Reuters.

Tributes have since poured in online for Marai, the AFP photographer killed in Kabul, who joined the wire service in 1996 and left behind six children. In 2016, he penned a heavyhearted essay describing how all hope in the wartorn country had faded since the US invasion in 2001.

“But there is no more hope. Life seems to be even more difficult than under the Taliban because of the insecurity,” Marai wrote. “I don’t dare to take my children for a walk. I have five and they spend their time cooped up inside the house. Every morning as I go to the office and every evening when I return home, all I think of are cars that can be booby-trapped, or of suicide bombers coming out of a crowd. I can’t take the risk. So we don’t go out.”

“I have never felt life to have so little prospects and I don’t see a way out. It’s a time of anxiety,” he wrote at the end.

You can see more of Marai’s work here.

In November, the US began quietly ramping up the war in Afghanistan, initiating a new strategy that targets Taliban drug labs with airstrikes. The strategy has been criticised by some as a game of “whack-a-mole” since the Taliban can reportedly rebuild the labs in just a matter of days.

The US is spending about $US45 billion per year in Afghanistan, where it has been at war for nearly 17 years, making it the longest in American history.

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