Just hours after seven journalists were killed by a suicide car bomber in Kabul, a Taliban spokesman warned that the militants will strike again against workers at Afghanistan's first 24-hour news channel.
All of the journalists killed when the Taliban targeted the minibus they were travelling in worked for Tolo News. The vehicle was a blackened shell after the attack on 20 January sent flames blasting through the the roof and blowing out windows. "If they do not stop their evil activities this will not be the last attack on them," wrote Zabihullah Mujahid in an emailed statement, reports Reuters.
Karim Amini, a reporter for the channel, was defiant: "Such brutal and cowardly attacks can never stop us serving our country, people and protecting democracy."
The Taliban originally threatened the television channel in 2015 after it reported charges of executions, rape and kidnappings by Taliban fighters during the battle for Kunduz. The Taliban briefly captured the city in October 2015 before being ousted by government forces.
Tolo News has been one of the most active media operations in the country for years, employing dozens of journalists, many in volatile provinces. One expert said the attack was unusual because the Taliban often target security and government installations. The new attack adds a deadly added level of danger for journalists already working in difficult conditions.
The attack was just the latest in a series of at least six recent bombings that are jolting the nation amid renewed efforts to revive a peace process with Taliban insurgents that broke down in the summer of 2015.