The IPI global network strongly condemns the killing of Afghan journalist Hosein Naderi in a targeted attack on journalism by the Islamic State group.

On March 11, a bomb exploded in Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital of Afghanistan’s Balkh province, during a press event marking National Journalists Day. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq News Agency, stating it targeted journalists and media workers who were involved in the war and fight against IS.

Naderi was a journalist for the independent Afghan Voice Agency, covering news in Balkh. 16 press members in total were injured in the bombing.

This attack came only days after the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the same Balkh province, killing governor Daud Muzmal and three others.

Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous places for journalists. Apart from the risk of violence, press freedom has become increasingly limited in the country following the Taliban takeover, with over 40 percent  of media outlets having been closed, thousands of journalists losing their jobs, and hundreds fleeing the country. Since 2021, at least seven journalists have been killed in Afghanistan for their work.

“The killing of Hosein Naderi is a shocking and blatant attack on the press”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “The international community must urgently increase pressure on Afghanistan, where press freedom is already under threat by the Taliban regime, to improve the safety environment for journalists and ensure an end all forms of attacks against the press.”