World Nemat Rawan: Former Afghan TV host shot dead in Kandahar
Afghanistan's last Jew eyes exit ahead of Taliban return
For decades, Zebulon Simentov refused to leave Afghanistan -- surviving a Soviet invasion, deadly civil war, brutal rule by the Taliban and the US-led occupation of his homeland. But enough is enough for Afghanistan's last Jew, and the prospect of the Taliban's return has him preparing to say goodbye. "Why should I stay? They call me an infidel," Simentov told AFP at Kabul's only synagogue, housed in an old building in the centre of the Afghan capital."I'm the last, the only Jew in Afghanistan... It could get worse for me here. I have decided to leave for Israel if the Taliban returns.
Nemat Rawan, a former Afghan television journalist, was shot dead in southern Kandahar city on Thursday, officials said, becoming the fifth journalist to have been killed this year.
Rawan hosted a popular talk show on the country’s leading broadcaster, Tolo News, before joining the ministry of finance as a communications specialist last month.
He was “assassinated by unknown gunmen”, Kandahar city police spokesman Jamal Nasir Barekzai told AFP news agency.
“Heartbreaking to hear that a friend and former colleague Nemat Rawan was shot dead in Kandahar city today,” Lotfullah Najafizada, head of Tolo News, posted on Twitter.
Afghan retreat: US formally begins withdrawing from its longest war
The United States formally begins withdrawing its last troops from Afghanistan Saturday, bringing its longest war nearer to an end but also heralding an uncertain future for a country in the tightening grip of an emboldened Taliban. US officials on the ground say the withdrawal is already a work in progress -- and May 1 is just a continuation -- but Washington has made an issue of the date because it is a deadline agreed with the Taliban in 2020 to complete the pullout.
There was no claim of responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban have been blamed for a wave of assassinations targeting journalists in recent months.
On Wednesday, a Taliban spokesman warned that media workers who carry out “biased reporting” would be “held responsible”.
Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the country’s peace council, on Thursday condemned the Taliban’s threat against the media and “any attempts to silence Afghan journalists”.
Members of Afghanistan’s educated class – including journalists, activists and judges – have for months been the target of bombings and shootings, forcing many to go into hiding or leave the country.
The killings have escalated since peace talks began last year between the Afghan government and the Taliban, sparking fears that rebels are eliminating perceived opponents as negotiations stall.
At least 11 Afghan journalists were killed in 2020, with four more reportedly murdered this year, according to a recent toll from Amnesty International.
In early March, three female media workers were gunned down in the eastern city of Jalalabad.
Around 1,000 Afghan media workers have left their jobs in the past six months, an Afghan journalists’ safety committee said recently.
Afghanistan has long been ranked as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists.
Afghanistan: Nearly 1,600 children killed in the past five years .
New report says 40 percent of all airstrike casualties from 2016 to 2020 were children.Data published on Thursday by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) said of the 3,977 deaths caused between 2016 and 2020, nearly 1,600 were children.