- Associated Press - Saturday, May 30, 2020

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - A bus belonging to a local TV station was hit by a roadside bomb Saturday in the capital Kabul, killing two employees, said a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry.

Four other employees were wounded in the attack, said Marwa Amini, ministry deputy spokeswoman.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the violence, but Amini said the bus from Khurshid TV was the target.

Mohammad Rafi Sediqi, an official with Khurshid, confirmed the deaths of two employees. He said two wounded were in critical condition.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, on his Twitter account denied involvement in the attack.



The Islamic State group affiliate is also active in Kabul and has claimed responsibility for recent attacks in the capital.

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul condemned the attack and expressed condolences for the families of the victims. “Attacks on the media are attacks on Afghanistan’s freedom and progress,” the embassy said in a tweet. “We stand with free media and are working hard for a peaceful Afghanistan.”

Feroz Bashari, a government spokesman, said on Twitter that an attack on journalists is an attack on freedom of speech and open media and cannot be justified. “The Afghan government is seriously investigating this attack. Such attacks are not acceptable for the Afghan government.”

Saturday was the eighth anniversary of Khurshid TV and Radio stations, station officials said.

The attack came after a truce the Taliban and Afghan nationals security forces in effect during the three-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr ended Tuesday.

Afghanistan is among the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters. In January, the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee reported five journalists were killed in 2019. The year before, 17 journalist and media workers were killed in Afghanistan, when a total of 121 cases of violence against journalists and media workers were reported.

During an attack in April 2018, nine journalists who rushed to the scene of a suicide bombing in Kabul were killed when a second suicide bomber who waited for first responders and others to appear on the scene ignited his explosives. A 10th journalist was killed the same day, shot in eastern Khost province.

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