Condemnation poured in from across the world Tuesday after 10 journalists were among dozens killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan.
A double suicide bombing in Kabul left 25 people dead including AFP photographer Shah Marai and eight other journalists, while a BBC reporter was killed in a separate attack in eastern Khost province.
The second Kabul bomber disguised himself as a journalist and detonated himself among the crowd, police said, in what Reporters Without Borders said was the most lethal single attack on the media since the fall of the Taliban.
Journalists from Radio Free Europe and Afghan broadcasters Tolo News and 1TV were among the others killed.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "outraged" by the suicide blasts, which were claimed by ISIS and left another 49 people wounded.
"The deliberate targeting of journalists in the attack highlights once again the risks media professionals face in carrying out their essential work," he said.
In a third strike on a bloody day for Afghanistan, 11 children were killed and 16 people wounded, including Romanian and Afghan soldiers, when another suicide attacker exploded his car near a NATO convoy in southern Kandahar province.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that the weakened militants were targeting journalists in Afghanistan in order to undermine the electoral process ahead of an expected vote in October.
"This is the normal stuff by people who cannot win at the ballot box, so they turn to bombs," he said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also condemned the "senseless and barbaric attack".
"The vibrant media landscape that has developed in Afghanistan will endure, in large part due to those journalists and media professionals who tragically died in today's attack, but whose courageous and steadfast work helped lay the foundation for Afghanistan's thriving and resilient independent media," he said.
The BBC confirmed that its reporter, 29-year-old Ahmad Shah who had worked for the broadcaster for more than a year, was shot by unidentified armed men in Khost and that police were investigating the motive.
Afghanistan was last year ranked the third most dangerous country in the world for journalists by Reporters without Borders (RSF) and on Monday the watchdog urged the international community to guard the media from future attacks.
"It is high time that the UN send a strong signal to the international community and to local protagonists by appointing a Special Representative for the protection of journalists," the group's chief Christophe Deloire said.
RSF said that since 2016, it has recorded the killings of 34 journalists in Afghanistan.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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