Reporters Without Borders is saddened to learn that Ahamad Omid Khpalwak, a reporter for the BBC and the Afghan news agency Pajhwok, was killed today during Taliban attacks on several buildings in Tarin Kot, the capital of the southern province of Oruzgan. Khpalwak was in one of the targeted buildings, the provincial headquarters of the national radio and TV station.
“We offer our condolences to Khpalwak’s family and friends,” Reporters Without Borders said. “A talented young journalist, he had the courage to work as a reporter in the south of the country, a Taliban bastion. This crime must not go unpunished. We demand the truth about the circumstances of his death. Enemies of media freedom, the Taliban are murdering a still growing number of journalists and ordinary citizens.”
Suicide bombers and gunmen began a series of coordinated attacks on several Tarin Kot buildings including the radio and TV station, the governor’s house and police headquarters at around 12:15 pm. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi confirmed that they were carried out by his organization but denied that the Taliban killed Khpalwak.
Khpalwak’s brother told the Pajhwok news agency that his brother sent him an SMS message after being badly injured in which he asked him to pray for him. He died before emergency services arrived. At least 17 people were killed in the attacks.
Khpalwak is the third Pajhwok journalist to be killed. Abdul Samad Rohani was killed in Helmand in June 2008 and Janullah Hashimzada was killed in northern Pakistan in August 2009.