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Second Afghan female journalist shot dead in less than a week

Three gunmen shot dead a female journalist in the north of Afghanistan capital Kabul, the second such killing in less than a week. Zakia Zaki, who also served as headmistress of a school in Parwan province, ran a private radio station, partially funded by a Western media group, Reuters reported.

The 35-year-old married woman was killed at her house late on Tuesday night. Zaki was threatened recently by some local commanders to shut down the station or face death, the head of Afghanistan's Independent Journalist Association said. "She believed in freedom of expression, that's why she was killed," Rahimullah Samander told Reuters.

Authorities said an investigation had been launched to find out who killed Zaki, seen as an outspoken and courageous journalist.

Her killing follows the murder of Shakiba Sanga Amaj, who worked for Pashtu channel Shamshad TV, at her house in Kabul last Friday. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects in connection with Amaj's murder. She had also been ordered by unidentified people to stop her work.

A man opened fire on the 22-year-old at point blank range at her family home in Kabul and two days later police arrested a suspect, Abdul Latif from Ghazni in central Afghanistan, who had reportedly been hired to punish her for refusing to marry.

"Even if a family feud appears to be behind this cowardly killing, the authorities should not overlook the profession and renown of the young presenter," Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said, offering its condolences to the journalist’s family and colleagues.

Her father, Mohammad Rabi Amaj, told the Pajwok news agency that he believed family members had paid Latif to kill his daughter. "Latif is a hired killer and a deviant. I pray to God that no other women are destroyed as Sanga was," he said.

Pakistan-educated Amaj was a well-liked presenter on the programme "Da Gudar Ghara" on Shamshad TV, headed by Wahid Nazari. She also worked as a reporter.

The case has echoes of that of Shaima Rezaee, a young presenter on privately-owned Tolo TV, murdered in Kabul in May 2005. Police have never cleared up the exact circumstances of the killing, which some people claimed was a suicide.

Independent media has flourished in Afghanistan following the fall of the Taliban in 2001 as dozens of foreign funded radios and private television channels have opened. Many channels run largely entertainment programmes and some of their programmes are seen as too modern in the deeply conservative nation, according to Reuters.

Date posted: June 6, 2007 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 592