he Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of journalist Ahmad Omed Khpalwak in Tarin Khot, the capital of the southern Afghan province of Oruzgan, on 24 July and called for those responsible to be brought to justice.
“I condemn the killing of Ahmad Omed Khpalwak,” the Director-General said. “The death of a journalist in the line of duty is a loss for a country striving for democracy and rule of law. I am deeply concerned about continuing violence and loss of innocent lives in Afghanistan and trust that the perpetrators of this heinous crime will be identified and brought to justice.”
Ahmad Omed Khpalwak, 25, was among at least 19 people who were killed in a Taliban attack on government buildings and a nearby television station which also left dozens of people injured.
The journalist was a freelance reporter for the BBC Pashto service and for the Afghan news agency Pajhwok. He is the first Afghan journalist killed this year, according to the Institute for the Protection of Journalists.
UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”