Afghanistan: Journalist Sayed Maroof Sadat gunned down

Prominent Afghan journalist and author Sayed Maroof Sadat, a former government spokesperson and an affiliate of radio ‘Sub Bakhair and Sham Bakhai’, was gunned down on October 2. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns the murder, which is another grave blow to press freedom in Afghanistan and calls on the international community to better assist in securing the safety of all Afghan media workers.

Afghan journalist and author Sayed Maroof Sadat was killed on October 2. Credit: Ariana News

Sadat was one of four people, including two Taliban fighters, who were killed in a drive-by shooting in Jalalabad city, the capital of Nangarhar Province in eastern Afghanistan. Sadat’s son was also critically injured during the attack. The perpetrators are currently unknown; however, Islamic State (ISIS) militants are thought to be behind the incident. 

Throughout Sadat’s 20-year career, he worked as a high-profile journalist for various national and international media organisations. He served as spokesperson for the former Afghan government’s Department of Rural Development before the Taliban’s take-over, and was recently acting as ‘media in charge of the directorate of urban development in Nangarhar province’. The journalist’s burial was performed on October 3 in the Khogyani district.

Taliban officials are reportedly investigating the four murders. ISIS maintains a strong presence in the Nangarhar province, where the city of Jalalabad is located, with the Taliban facing increasing security threats from the rival group.

Family members of the deceased journalist said that Sadat had no known enmities and many media workers in the Nangarhar province are now even more fearful following the incident. “If such incidents are not prevented, journalists will have not have any options but to leave the country”, fellow journalist Jawid Razmand said.

Five journalists have been killed since the Taliban’s capture of Afghanistan in August. Fahim Dashti, a veteran leader of the Afghanistan National Journalists’ Union (ANJU), was killed in Panjshir province on September 5 during a clash between the National Resistance Front of Afghanistan (NRFA) and the Taliban. Ali Reza Ahmadi, a reporter for Raha News Agency, journalist Juhad Hamidi and Najma Sadeqi, an Afghan Youtuber, who worked with Afghan Insider were killed in the Kabul airport suicide bombing on August 26.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The loss of Sayed Maroof Sadat is yet another devastating blow to press freedom. The safety of all journalists and media workers in Afghanistan is gravely threatened by both the Taliban and other extremist groups across the nation. The IFJ strongly condemns the abhorrent murder of Sadat and urges international communities to provide support and ensure the safety of journalists.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram