From the NYRB Daily
More than fifty journalists have been killed in Afghanistan since
2001. But until this year, nobody had tried to massacre an entire
busload of journalists in the center of Kabul, all working for the
country’s largest and most successful broadcaster. That changed on
January 20, when a suicide bomber drove a car laden with explosives into
a minibus taking forty journalists and staff of Tolo TV home after a
day at the office.
At least seven people were killed including several women in their
early twenties; some of the victims were burnt and scarred beyond
recognition. Another twenty-six were injured, many extremely seriously.
It was easily the most deadly single attack against journalists ever
made in Afghan history...
Notwithstanding the one trillion dollars spent in Afghanistan by
American taxpayers since 2001, the fact is that Afghanistan is a country
whose government has hardly any ability to enforce its writ, even in
the capital itself. Corruption and warlordism have become an essential
part of the system and the population has gradually lost faith in its
leadership. And as security continues to deteriorate, Afghans now make
up the second largest contingent of asylum-seekers arriving in Europe,
their numbers surpassed only by those fleeing Syria. According to UN
statistics, they constitute almost 15 percent of the 650,000 refugees
who reached Europe between January and August. Many of them come from
well-educated, middle-class backgrounds and had good jobs in Afghanistan
when there was still a large presence of foreign forces in the country.
Amid this collapse of the rule of law, Tolo TV has been one of the
few bright spots. The network has built up an amazing reputation for
reporting the news as it is and presenting the country’s problems as
they unfold. It is also intensely creative, translating programs such as
American Idol into the hugely popular Afghan Idol,
and launching the country’s first league soccer teams. Tolo’s soap
operas are watched around the region. Tolo is less a TV station than a
national institution in a country that has few others.
But this reputation has come at a steep price. Last year the Taliban
threatened Tolo after they accused it of misreporting atrocities carried
out in Kunduz when the northern city briefly fell under Taliban
control. There was a direct threat against Tolo CEO Saad Mohseni and his
three brothers, who help run Tolo. Staff members and prominent TV
anchors also received threats.
Hit the link at the top to read the rest of this very disturbing story.
Article written by Ahmed Rashid