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Afghan war: Three female media workers shot dead in Jalalabad

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image captionThree women were shot dead and a fourth is critically injured in hospital

Three women who worked for a TV station in the Afghan city of Jalalabad have been shot dead, in what seems to be the latest in a wave of targeted killings.

Reports say the women, aged 18-20, were killed in two separate but co-ordinated attacks. A fourth was critically hurt.

Police say they arrested the lead gunman, linking him to the Taliban. The group deny any involvement.

A wave of killings has rocked the country with journalists, activists and other political figures being targeted.

The three women killed had recently finished high school and worked in the dubbing department of the privately owned Enikas TV station, said its head, Zalmai Latifi.

According to the Associated Press, Mursal Wahidi was attacked by gunmen as she was walking home. The two others – who were identified only as Shahnaz and Sadia – were killed in a separate incident, also while returning home.

“They are all dead. They were going home from the office on foot when they were shot,” Mr Latifi told AFP news agency.

The injured woman was taken to hospital where she was fighting for her life, a spokesperson was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Police are still looking for other attackers after they arrested the main suspect, Nangarhar police chief Juma Gul Hemat said, according to AFP.

“We arrested him as he was trying to escape,” said Mr Hemat. “He has admitted that he carried out the attack. He is a Taliban member.”

A wave of targeted attacks has devastated Afghanistan as the US withdraws from the country after signing a deal with the Taliban one year ago.

Enikas TV station says of 10 women it employed, four have now been killed including a presenter, Malalai Maiwand, who was gunned down in December. So-called Islamic State claimed it was behind the attack.

media caption“Afghanistan is not Vietnam”: President Ghani speaks to exclusively to the BBC

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani told the BBC in February that he did not fear a Taliban military takeover of the country, saying: “This is not a government that is collapsing.”

In February Nato said it had not yet decided whether its troops would leave by May as agreed under the deal with the Taliban. Around 9,000 Nato soldiers remain, of whom about 2,500 are US troops.

One of US President Joe Biden’s tasks is to decide if his government will keep to the terms of the deal signed under his predecessor Donald Trump.

This week the US special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad returned to Kabul to continue discussions with Afghan leaders and the Taliban over the faltering peace process.

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