Afghan journalist Nematullah Zaheer, who was killed in an IED explosion in Helmand this week, was laid to rest in Wardak on Saturday following a prayer ceremony in Kabul.
Zaheer, who had worked for Ariana news, died when the vehicle he was traveling in hit a roadside mine near Lashkargah on Friday.
Zaheer’s body was brought to Kabul by plane on Saturday. Dozens of journalists and friends carried his body to Kampani in Kabul where a prayer service was held. Zaheer’s body was then taken to Sayed Abad district in Wardak, his home province, where he was buried.
“He had never rejected my requests. When I asked him to do something, he was always willing and said I will do so,” said Abdul Qaioum, Zaheer’s father.
“Zaheer was a very nice and patient person. He was the most patient person in the family,” said Abdul Halim, his brother.
This year has proven to be the deadliest year in decades for journalists in Afghanistan.
Institutions supporting open media condemned the attack and expressed their condolences to Zaheer’s family. They said in the past 11 months, nearly 380 cases of violence against journalists have been recorded.
“He is the 14th journalist to have been killed in the country (this year). This is unprecedented against the previous years,” said Seddiqullah Tawhidi, head of NAI, an organization supporting open media in Afghanistan.
“He knew the reasons behind wars in Helmand province and the people who create chaos,” said Ahmad Farshad Salih, a journalist.
Meanwhile, in response to accusations of negligence in protecting journalists, government has said they are trying to protect the media in the country.
“This incident proved that Taliban and other insurgents groups are enemies of freedom of expression and do not believe in it,” said Dawa Khan Menapal, deputy spokesman for the president.
“It is our job and we feel responsible to address the entire incident that takes place in the country. Especially, the incidents that relate to journalists and media staff,” said Najib Danish, deputy spokesman of the ministry of interior.
Zaheer was 38 years old and had worked as a journalist for 10 years.
His friends said government should support his wife and three children.