Afghan journalist-turned security official killed in targeted Kabul bomb attack

Afghan journalist-turned security official killed in targeted Kabul bomb attack
A bomb attack in Kabul targeted Afghan journalist-turned security official Zia Wadan on Sunday.
3 min read
10 January, 2021
The bomb exploded in the capital Kabul [Getty]
An Afghan journalist-turned spokesman for the country's public protection force was killed along with two colleagues on Sunday by a bomb targeting their vehicle, the interior ministry said.

The murder of Zia Wadan, who previously worked for several media networks in Afghanistan, appeared to be the latest in a series of targeted killings that have rocked Afghanistan, especially Kabul.

Wadan and his colleagues were killed in morning rush-hour traffic in an eastern part of the capital, ministry spokesman Tariq Arian told reporters.

"A vehicle carrying Zia Wadan was targeted with an IED... as a result Wadan and two of his colleagues were killed," Arian said, adding that another person was wounded. 

No group has claimed the attack so far.

Wadan was spokesman for the National Public Protection Force (NPPF), a security service under the interior ministry that deploys guards to international organisations across Afghanistan. 

Deadly violence has surged across the country in recent months, and a new trend of targeted killings has sowed fear, especially in Kabul.

High-profile figures including journalists, politicians and rights activists have increasingly been targeted despite peace talks between the government and Taliban.

Since November, five journalists have been killed in targeted killings along with several other prominent figures.

Meanwhile, Afghan government negotiators returned to Doha earlier this month for a second round of talks with the Taliban after Kabul accused the insurgents of stalling the negotiations as Washington draws down its forces.

Months of deliberations between the two sides have yielded little so far, although both sides finally agreeing what to discuss in the next round was viewed as a breakthrough.

Afghan government negotiators will push for a permanent ceasefire and to protect existing governance arrangements, in place since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001 by a US-led invasion following the September 11 attacks.

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But Ahmad Zia Siraj, Afghanistan's spy chief, told parliament Monday that "we believe the Taliban are planning to drag the talks (out) until the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan in the month of May".

"We do not see the Taliban has any intention or will for peace," he said.

Under the landmark deal signed between the Taliban and Washington in February 2020, the US pledged to pull out all foreign forces from Afghanistan by May 2021.

US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad called for increased pace to talks as Washington pushes for more progress in the negotiations as the curtain falls on President Donald Trump's presidency.

"Both sides must demonstrate they are acting in the best interest of the Afghan people by making real compromises and negotiating an agreement on a political settlement as soon as possible," he said on Twitter earlier this month.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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