Yesterday’s killing of three female media workers, Mursal Wahedi, Shahnaz Raofi and Sadya Sadat in Jalalabad, in atrocious, planned assassinations deprives three young individuals of their future, and their families, friends and colleagues of loved ones. Following the killing of Malalai Maiwand in December, these attacks further illustrate the vulnerable and dangerous situation that media workers, especially women, face. It also continues a worrying trend of systematic, targeted attacks and killings of journalists, human rights defenders, civil society representatives and civil servants, which cost the lives of 1,200 civilians in 2020, a 45% increase compared to 2019. The Taliban remain responsible for the majority of civilian casualties and targeted assassinations, either directly or by opposing a ceasefire. Targeting journalists must stop. Targeting women must stop. The violence in Afghanistan must stop.
The European Union expects transparent and thorough investigations of all these attacks and assassinations. We mourn together with those affected and reiterate the European Union’s resolve to support media and the freedom of speech in Afghanistan.