Guwahati: Afghanistan’s former President Hamid Karzai expressed condolences over the death of prominent Afghan journalist Fahim Dashty, who fell prey to clashes that erupted between the Taliban fighters and the national resistance force in Panshir valley on 5 September and wished him paradise.
“Late Fahim Dashty was a critic of my government and a loud voice for freedom of speech,” quoting Karzai, the country’s prominent newspaper Afghanistan Times reported. The former President termed Fahim’s death as a great tragedy and offered his condolences to his family members. Associated with Kabul Weekly, Fahim was lately working as a spokesperson for Ahmad Massoud led National Resistance Front of Afghanistan. The anti-Taliban front officials claimed that Fahim was targeted by the Pakistani air-force drones at Annaba locality in Panshir valley. As the Taliban militants invaded Afghanistan, he joined the resistance force, popularly known as Northern Alliance.
Besides pursuing professional journalism, Fahim was also engaged with the Federation of Afghan Journalists and the Afghanistan National Journalists Union. Born into a progressive family at Dashtak village under Anaba district in 1972, Fahim graduated from Istiqlal high school and studied law and political science at Kabul University. Various international media rights bodies including Press Emblem Campaign, Reporters Without Borders, Committee to Protect Journalists, International Federation of Journalists, etc expressed shock at his demise. Fahim became the tenth journalist killed in Afghanistan since January 2021 turning it the most dangerous country for journalists.
“The PEC is gravely concerned about the wellbeing of local journalists as well as journalists reporting for international media. We call on Afghanistan’s new authorities to ensure the safety of journalists and to respect press freedom,” said Blaise Lempen, general secretary of PEC (www.pressemblem.ch/) adding that the global outfit was very concerned by the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan for some months.
He also added that over the past 20 years, independent media proliferated in Afghanistan. As the Taliban gains power across the country, journalists are coming under increasing attacks. Those who defy the Taliban face threats, pressure, kidnapping and murder. Female journalists are at greater risk due to their public role, asserted Lempen.
The armed militants have recently killed Afghan media workers namely Adel Aimaq, Mursal Waheedi, Saadia Sadat, Shahnaz Raoufi, Mina Khairi, Toofan Omar, Alireza Ahmadi, Najma Sadeqi, etc. Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui also lost his life in crossfire inside Afghanistan as he was on a journalistic assignment. He incidentally became the sixth journalist killed in the country this year.