Afghan Journalist Dies in Bomb Blast as Reporters Increasingly Under Fire
A prominent Afghan journalist was killed on Thursday in Helmand Province when a magnetic bomb attached to his car exploded. Ilyas Dayee, 33, had worked for the US-funded Radio Liberty network for about 10 years. Zaman Hamdard, a provincial police spokesperson, told The Media Line that “Dayee was traveling in Lashkargah city along with his brother when the blast occurred. His brother Mujtaba Dayee is critically injured.” Two additional civilians, including a child, were wounded. Ilyas Dayee had been receiving threats from local militant groups but so far, no group has claimed responsibility for his assassination, Hamdard added. Mohsin Azad, one of the journalist’s colleagues, told The Media Line that Dayee was a conflict zone reporter and was bravely covering terrorism-related issues for local and international media. Ross Wilson, the acting US ambassador to Afghanistan, condemned Dayee’s killing and wrote on Twitter that the murder was yet “another attack on the freedom of the press. “These attacks on journalists must stop immediately,” he continued. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement that he remains deeply concerned by and condemned attacks against journalists and against media workers in general. He called for “concerted efforts to tackle widespread impunity for such crimes.” Dayee’s death comes five days after former television presenter Yama Siavash was killed along with two other civilians by a similar bomb attack in Kabul. Helmand is the largest of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces and considered the most dangerous one. It is also the biggest poppy-producing province. The forces of the US-led coalition retreated from Helmand in 2014, and since then, the province has become a hub for Taliban forces. Since October, fighting has surged in Helmand, following a major Taliban offensive attempting to take the provincial capital. Tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced.