Afghan security force shrinks sharply: watchdog

Kabul Two suicide bombings kill 25 Islamic State claims responsibility

Kabul Two suicide bombings kill 25 Islamic State claims responsibility

"These journalists were in the area to cover a bomb blast when a second explosion occurred".

The media watchdog said since 2016, it has recorded the killings of 34 journalists in Afghanistan.

A security source also confirmed both were suicide blasts. The groups claimed that two suicide bombers had targeted the Kabul headquarters of Afghanistan's intelligence services.

According to a provisional toll by the health ministry, at least 21 people were killed, including four reporters.

"The independent media is a cornerstone of democracy", he said, adding that the United States was "committed to defeating" the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the Kabul attack.

Over the past week, eleven journalists and cameramen have been killed in Afghanistan.

RSF named the others as: ToloNews cameraman Yar Mohammad Tokhi; three journalists for Radio Free Europe — Ebadollah Hananzi, Sabvon Kakeker and Maharam Darani; two cameramen for Afghan network TV1, Ghazi Rasoli and Norozali Rajabi; and Salim Talash and Ali Salimi of local Mashal TV.

Relatives and friends of AFP photographer Shah Marai carry his coffin at his burial outside Kabul.

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In 2002, he became a full-time photo stringer, rising through the ranks to become the bureau's chief photographer.

He leaves behind six children, including a newborn daughter.

The attacks came days after the Taleban began a spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture by the Afghan government.

During the announcement, the group vowed to target U.S. forces and "their intelligence agents" as well as their "internal supporters".

As the Pentagon asserts that Afghan troops and US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces are making steady progress in the 16.5-year-old Afghanistan war, a USA watchdog on Tuesday warned that the Taliban and other insurgent groups are gaining control over increasing numbers of the Afghan population and the strength of local security forces has declined sharply.

President Ashraf Ghani's government is under pressure on multiple fronts this year as it prepares to hold October's long-delayed elections while its security forces struggle to get the upper hand on the battlefield and prevent civilian casualties.

At the same time, the Taliban and other insurgent groups now control or influence 14.5 percent of Afghanistan's 407 districts - the highest level since SIGAR started recording such data in late 2015.

Afghan journalists were shaken but defiant today, vowing to continue reporting on the bloody conflict after the deadliest attack on the country's media since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.

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