Kabul: Taliban designated Tolo TV a “military objective” and targeted as alleged “intelligence network”

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Aftermath of a suicide attack on a busy road outside of Russian embassy in Kabul. Courtesy Hafizullah Hasif. (Bilal Sarwary)

A mini bus belonging to Kaboora production company was targeted in a suicide bomb attack close to the Russian embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul on Wednesday killing at least seven people and wounded around 25 others. A vehicle rammed a mini-van carrying employees setting it ablaze. Kaboora is owned by Moby which also owns Tolo TV. Kaboora works on projects with Tolo.

Bilal Sarwary, (a local journalist) tweeted,

A security officer tells me, I have seen 2 burned bodies inside a van, a child was also killed & 22 injured in Darul Aman suicide attack.

MOI spokesperson stated that there were four civilians among the dead and 20 more civilians wounded in today’s terrorist attack.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesperson claimed responsibility, stating, “if they do not stop their evil activities this will not be the last attack on them.”

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Aftermath of the attack, Kabul (Image Pajhwok)

Background to the attack

The Taliban has long been at loggerheads with Tolo accusing the company of biased journalism and designated 2 Afghan media channels as “military objectives” back in 2014 following alleged “propaganda”. At that time Islamic Emirate stated,

“The clear shameless example of propaganda by these satanic networks is a report which they published claiming that on the fourth day following Eid ul Adha when the Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate captured Kunduz city, they (may Allah forbid) attacked a female hostel and violated the honor its students.

These television networks continually published this fabricated report despite the fact that the citizens of Kunduz city have strongly rejected these claims while bearing witness in front of Allah Almighty that all the educational facilities of Afghanistan including the female hostel in Kunduz were closed for holidays and there was no one present.”

See full statement on following link,

“Afghanistan: Islamic Emirate statement designates 2 Afghan media channels as military objectives following alleged propaganda”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/afghanistan-islamic-emirate-statement-designates-2-afghan-media-channels-as-military-objectives-following-alleged-propaganda/

See following link also as to the background leading to today’s incident.

“Afghanistan: US influence on Afghan media alleged bias in reporting and response to Taliban threats”

https://activist1.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/afghanistan-us-influence-on-afghan-media-alleged-bias-in-reporting-and-response-to-taliban-threats/

Taliban has now how claimed responsibility for the attack on Tolo TV attack and released a statement as follows,

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Remarks by spokesman of Islamic Emirate concerning attack on Tolo intelligence network

“Yesterday the Military Commission of Islamic Emirate made good on its promise of targeting Tolo TV, the country’s largest network for promoting obscenity, irreligiousness, foreign culture and nudity.

The Islamic Emirate wants to clarify that the attack on Tolo was not an attack on the media but on an intelligence network opposing our national unity and our religious and national values. We want to reassure all impartial media outlets. They must not unintentionally compare themselves with Tolo and should withhold from making unwarranted assertions because they cannot harm us.

The Islamic Emirate seeks and has resolved its problems with the media through logic and dialogue. However Tolo did not understand logic, neither did it abide by ethics of journalism nor did it have good conduct. Most of its workers were anti-Jihad and anti-Islam elements trained by foreign intelligence toiling for the Americans for the past many years.

The condemnations by the US embassy, Ashraf Ghani, Abdullah, Dostum and other insignificant figures and organizations can never break our resolve and neither will propaganda and media warnings change our path. Instead of making irresponsible and thoughtless declarations and decisions, everyone should discern their responsibilities.”

 

Spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

Zabihullah Mujahid

11/03/1437 Hijri Lunar

01/11/1394 Hijri Solar                    21/01/2016 Gregorian

End

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“Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah has visited the wounded people from tonight’s suicide attack on MOBY/Tolo staff.” (Posted by Abdullah)

Reaction to the attack

President Ashraf Ghani tweeted that it was a “barbaric attack carried out by coward terrorists”.

Tolo said, “we condemn these terrorist attacks that kill innocent Afghans. We await for an update from security and government officials on the details of the attack.”

Bob Dietz (Committee for the Protection of Journalists’s Asia program coordinator) stated,

 “Attacks aimed at crushing independent media organizations in Afghanistan are a direct assault on the very foundation of Afghan democracy–a free and open press”.

“Today’s killings not only underscore the vulnerability of the media in the country, but the fragility of Afghan security under which the media must operate. We call on the government to seek out and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime as quickly as possible.”

Full CPJ statement on following link,

https://cpj.org/2016/01/cpj-condemns-attack-on-tolo-tv-employees-in-afghan.php

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.

About Carol Anne Grayson

Blogging for Humanity.... Campaigner/researcher global health/human rights/drones/WOT/insurgency http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/PO/experts/Health_and_Wellbeing.aspx Exec Producer of Oscar nominated documentary Incident in New Baghdad, currently filming on drones.
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