The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today vehemently condemned the killings of three women media workers in Afghanistan.

Enikass TV employees Mursal Habibi, Shahnaz and Saadia were reportedly shot dead by unknown gunmen in two separate incidents today. The incidents took place in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan while the reporters were on their way home from their office in the provincial capital Jalalabad. Enikass TV confirmed the deaths of its employees in a Facebook post and said that no group has claimed responsibility for the killings.

“We are horrified by the murder of these three Enikass media workers, which cruelly demonstrates the extreme dangers that journalists, and especially women journalists, face doing their work in Afghanistan”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said. “Afghan authorities must immediately investigate this unspeakable act and hold all those responsible to account. The only way to stop the spread of violence against journalists is to break the cycle of impunity, ensuring that no one who attacks or kills a journalist or media worker can get away with it.”

According to news reports two of the journalists were killed in Zaragaran area of Jalalabad while the third was killed in Quasbesh area. Local police have reportedly launched an investigation into the incident.

The abhorrent killings came just less than three months after the death of another Ernikass TV journalist, Malala Maiwand. The prominent reporter was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in December 2020 together with her driver when she was travelling to work. After the attack the Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for it. Maiwand had spoken publicly about the challenges of female journalists in Afghanistan.

Today’s shooting brings the death toll for journalistsin Afghanistan to four in 2021. Bismillah Adel Aimaq, a journalist and managing director of Ghor Ghag Radio, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on January 1 in Pushta Ghazak area of the western Ghor province. Prior to the attack, the journalist had reported about attacks against his house and car. Police have said they are investigating the murder.