Condolence ceremony for Khpalwak held
At least 21 people, including Khpalwak, women and children, were killed in several hours of fighting in Tirinkot, the provincial capital on Thursday. The fighting erupted soon after six suicide attackers stormed the Governor's House and other buildings in the city.
Another 37 people, including women and children, were wounded in the gunbattle, Gen. Salem Ehsas, commander of the 404th Maiwand Police Zone, told Pajhwok AfghanNews.
The condolence ceremony was jointly arranged by Pajhwok Afghan News (PAN) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) at Sher Shah Mina Mosque in the Karta Char area of Kabul.
Minister of Information and Culture Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, a number of Afghan and foreign journalists, culturists and Pajhwok staff participated in the ceremony.
"Khpalwak was martyred in line of duty. His death is a huge loss for the journalist fraternity," Raheen said while addressing the ceremony. Journalists in Uruzgan had confirmed that Khpalwak was killed by the attackers, he said.
But the Taliban fighters, who asserted responsibility for the attack, have denied killing the reporter. Khpalwak's brother has blamed foreign soldiers for shooting his brother, but the coalition has rejected the allegation.
On Sunday the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) has also condemned the killing of Khpalwak. Zia Bumya, the head of SAFMA's Afghanistan chapter, called for a thoroughgoing investigation into the killing.
If journalists remain committed to their task of reporting facts in Afghanistan, they are either killed or detained, he said. "And if media people overlook their core responsibility, they ignore their duty to society."
Although no one has so far claimed responsibility for the death, Bumya called the perpetrators the "enemy of mankind."
Meanwhile, Afghan lawmakers also denounced Khpalwak's murder and asked security officials to bring his killers to justice as soon as possible. The MeshranoJirga, during its session, sought an investigation into the death.
Similarly, Takhar Journalists' Association President Syed Yasin Dehzad also demanded the arrest of Khpalwak's killers. He called for the government to step up security for media representatives.
Pajhwok's reporter Abdul Samad Rohani was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near Lashkargah, Helmand, in June 2008 and its Peshawar-based correspondent Janullah Hashimzada in Pakistan's lawless tribal region of Khyber in August 2009.
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