Vastavam web: A defiant Kabul TV station was back on the air today moments after the end of an attack by gunmen who had stormed the broadcaster, killing at least one person and leaving two dozen wounded.The assault on Shamshad TV by militants disguised as policemen, which was claimed by the Islamic State group, highlights the risks facing journalists who are increasingly targets in the war-torn country.A Shamshad news presenter, his hands bandaged after cutting himself on glass as he fled the attackers, told viewers that 20 colleagues had been wounded. Six were in a critical condition.
“We have all come back (to work), all our journalists and colleagues are back on duty,” he said.Shamshad news director Abid Ehsas, interviewed by rival Tolo News at a hospital in the Afghan capital where some of his wounded colleagues were being treated, said: “This is an attack on freedom of media but they cannot silence us.””They killed one of our guards and entered the building and started firing. Most of us were able to flee but some were wounded and some jumped out of the windows.”
He said the station had not received any threats before the attack.Gunshots could be heard inside the building every few minutes during the assault as more and more security forces and emergency services swarmed the area.Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said one employee had been killed and 24 people wounded, including four firefighters.In a tweet the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC) renewed its call for “the government to take all preventive measures to protect” the media — sentiments echoed by Amnesty International.
President Ashraf Ghani pledged to take “serious measures” to protect journalists in a statement condemning the attack.The country suffered its deadliest year on record for journalists in 2016, according to the AJSC, with at least 13 media workers killed. That made it the second most dangerous place for reporters in the world after Syria.A Taliban suicide bombing in Kabul in January last year killed seven employees of popular TV channel Tolo, which is often critical of the insurgents, in what the militant group said was revenge for “spreading propaganda” against them.
It was the first major attack on an Afghan media organisation since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001.Security in the capital has been ramped up since a May 31 truck bomb exploded on the edge of the so-called “Green Zone”, killing around 150 people and wounding 400 others.That attack also caused extensive damage to 1TV, a private news channel near the bombing site. Like Shamshad on Tuesday, it managed to resume operations within a few hours.Special truck scanners, barriers and permanent and mobile checkpoints have been rolled out across the city since the May bombing.