On this day in 2018, 9 Afghan journalists, including TOLOnews cameraman Yar Mohammad Tokhi, were killed in a deadly attack in Kabul. Tokhi had worked for TOLO TV and TOLOnews for 12 years.
The blast happened when the journalists were at the scene to report on an early explosion.
Yar Mohammad Tokhi, Ghazi Rasuli, Shah Marai Faizi, Freshta Mahram Durani, Abdullah Hananzai, Sabawoon Kakar, Mohammad Salim Talash, Nawroz Ali Rajabi and Ali Salimi were the nine journalists who lost their lives in the incident.
Tokhi’s mother and relatives of other victims of the incident said they urge the warring parties to end violence and make efforts for enduring peace in the country.
“What I would do with peace if it exists or not. I have already lost my son,” said Tabrako, Tokhi’s mother.
“Peace should be established, an enduring peace, not a peace that doesn’t exist practically,” said Gul Mohammad, Tokhi’s brother.
Nawroz Ali Rajabi, a cameraman at 1 TV, was another victim of the incident.
Nargis, his daughter, was not born when Rajabi died in the explosion.
“His father died when he was five years old. We worked at a bakery. I had the hope that my son would stand on his own and help me,” Nawroz Ali’s mother said.
Some journalists and media supporting organizations said the sacrifices of those who supported freedom of speech should not be ignored in the peace process.
“Right now, many journalists and media workers are faced with security threats,” said Hamid Mayar, a journalist.
“We are in a critical time. Families of media workers and journalists ask both parties to ensure their rights,” said Shahpoor Farahmand, a journalist.
On the same day of the explosion, April 30, 2018, Ahmad Shah Durani who was a BBC reporter was killed in an attack by unidentified armed men in Khost province.
“In fact, there is no clue about who organized the attack and from where it was ordered,” said Mujib Khalwatgar, CEO of Nai, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan.
Figures by journalists supporting organizations show that 16 journalists were killed in Afghanistan in 2018. The figures show that 5 journalists were killed in 2019 and 8 journalists and media workers were killed in 2020.
Journalists who died in Kabul explosion on April 30, 2018:
1. Yar Mohammad Tokhi – TOLOnews Cameraman
Yar Mohammad Tokhi is one of nine journalists who lost their lives in Monday’s explosion. Tokhi was 54 years old and was the only breadwinner in his family. He was engaged and due to be married within a month. Tokhi and his fiancé had been wedding shopping over the past few days. But Daesh ended his dreams on Monday.
Tokhi had worked for TOLO TV and TOLOnews for 12 years. He is survived by his ailing mother and his sister, who has cancer.
2. Shah Marai – AFP Photographer
Shah Marai Faizi was AFP’s chief photographer in their Kabul bureau. Marai joined AFP as a driver in 1996, the year the Taliban seized power, and in 2002 he became a full-time photo stringer, rising through the ranks to become chief photographer in the bureau.
Marai was the only breadwinner in his fifteen-member family. He has two blind brothers who have been left devastated by his sudden death.
He leaves behind six children, including a newborn daughter, AFP said.
"This is a devastating blow for the brave staff of our close-knit Kabul bureau and the entire agency," said AFP Global News Director Michele Leridon.
3. Ghazi Rasooli – 1TV Journalist
Ghazi Rasooli joined 1TV four years ago as a journalist and was studying journalism at Kabul University. His was in his final year and was hoping to graduate this year.
Rasooli, 21, was engaged and he was expected to marry next month.
On Monday morning, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives near an National Directorate of Security (NDS) office in Kabul city, Rasooli was tasked to cover the incident.
4. Nawroz Ali Rajabi – 1TV Cameraman
Nowroz Ali Rajabi, 1TV cameraman, joined the news channel two years ago.
Rajabi was the only breadwinner in his family. He has left behind a three-month-old baby, elderly parents and his wife.
Rajabi had also been at the scene of the explosion to cover the first incident.
5. Farishta Mahram Durani – Azadi Radio
Farishta Mahram Durani was a journalist for Azadi Radio in Kabul. She had been saving up to pay for university. Durani was hired recently as the producer of the “Woman” program for the radio station. Durani had worked as a news anchor with several media outlets in Afghanistan.
6. Sabawoon Kakar – Azadi Radio
Sabawon Kakar was another journalist from Azadi Radio who lost his life in the attack. Kakar was covering the aftermath of the first blast when the second explosion rocked the city. Kakar is survived by his wife and a child.
7. Ebadullah Hananzai – Azadi Radio
Ebadullah Hananzai was another Azadi Radio journalist killed in the explosion. Hananzai married only one year ago. He was also the only breadwinner in his family. Hananzai was also the producer of Karwan-e-Zahr (the Poison Convoy) which covered issues related to drug cultivation and production in Afghanistan.
8. Saleem Talash – Mashal TV
Talash joined Mashal TV two years ago as a reporter and was based in Kabul city.
He was engaged a month ago and was supposed to marry soon.
Talash was also at the scene of the explosion to cover the earlier blast. Just moments before the second explosion, Talash sent a text message to friends warning them against using the road close to the scene. It was minutes later, during rush hour, that the suicide bomber detonated his explosives.
9. Ali Saleemi – Mashal TV
Ali Saleemi joined Mashsal TV only a week ago and lost his life on Monday morning while accompanying Talash.
He had been assigned to cover the incident along with Talash when the explosion happened.