Seven media workers killed in Kabul suicide attack

Seven media workers killed in Kabul suicide attack
3 min read
21 January, 2016
Seven media workers were killed on Wednesday evening after a suicide car bomber rammed his vehicle into a bus carrying Tolo TV staff in the Afghan capital Kabul.
The deadly attack took place during the evening rush hour [AFP]

Seven media workers were killed on Wednesday evening in a suicide attack that targeted a bus carrying journalists from Afghan television channel, Tolo TV, in the Afghan capital Kabul.

A suicide car bomber targetted the bus during the evening rush hour close to the Afghan parliament as it was driving Tolo TV staff home, killing 7 and seriously injuring 24 others according to police.

Tolo TV, one of Afghanistan's most popular privately owned broadcasters had received direct threats from the Taliban in October after it reported on the group's abuses during the battle of Kunduz.

"We henceforth regard Tolo TV and 1TV as military targets, not as news media," said a statement released by the Taliban in October, however no group has claimed responsibility for today's attack.

"Journalists are targetted throughout the world but now entire news organisations are threatened by large-scale attacks," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

"Jihadists are among press freedom's worst predators," added Deloire. "We call on the Afghan authorities to assign all available resources to catching those responsible for this bombing as quickly as possible."

At least 34 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in Afghanistan since 2001. Most of these murders are still unpunished.

University massacre

Earlier in the day, Taliban militants attacked a university in northeast Pakistan killing at least 20 people and wounding 23 others in the assault that lasted for hours.

Four gunmen from a Taliban splinter group stormed the Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, leaving a scene of carnage reminiscent of the December 2014 massacre at an army public school in nearby Peshawar that killed 150, mostly children.

Two teachers were among the dead, including a chemistry professor who was praised as a hero for shooting back at the attackers and allowing some students to escape.

As police and soldiers rushed to the scene, the attackers traded gunfire with the troops, and several explosions were heard. The attackers were later contained inside two university blocks where the troops killed them, the army said.

Among the 18 students and two teachers who were slain was Syed Hamid Hussain, a chemistry professor who witnesses said opened fire on the gunmen.

Hussain fired as he moved backward, herding his class out behind him before being killed in the gun battle, said student Bilal Khan.

The attackers carried mobile phones with Afghan numbers and "were in touch with their handlers in Afghanistan," said Pakistan military spokesman Lt. Gen Asim Bajwa. Pakistan maintains that its militants often find refuge in the neighboring country.

Agencies contributed to this report