Kabul, April 30: A coordinated double suicide bombing hit central Kabul on Monday morning, killing 25 people and wounding 45 others. Kabul police spokesman Hashmat Stanekzai confirmed that four policemen were killed, while an Afghan media watchdog, the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC), confirmed that eight journalists were also killed.
The AJSC said that six journalists were reportedly wounded in the attacks. Agence France-Presse(AFP) confirmed that its chief photographer Shah Marai, a journalist from 1TV and one from Tolo News were among the dead.
A first bomb was detonated by an assailant on a motorcycle and left at least four dead and five injured, according to the Interior Ministry.
A second explosion came minutes after the first targeted reporters at the scene, Stanekzai told AFP.
“The bomber disguised himself as a journalist and detonated himself among the crowd,” he said.
A security source also confirmed both were suicide blasts.
The militant Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement issued via its propaganda agency Amaq. It claimed that two suicide bombers had targeted the Kabul headquarters of Afghanistan’s intelligence services.
Shah Marai joined AFP as a driver in 1996, the year the Taliban seized power, and began taking pictures on the side, covering stories including the US invasion in 2001.
In 2002 he became a full-time photo stringer, rising through the ranks to become chief photographer in the bureau.
He leaves behind six children, including a newborn daughter.
“This is a devastating blow, for the brave staff of our close-knit Kabul bureau and the entire agency,” the agency’s global news director Michele Leridon said.
“We can only honour the strength, courage, and generosity of a photographer who covered often traumatic, horrific events with sensitivity and consummate professionalism.” (KNB)