An Afghan journalist was shot by an unknown gunman on Saturday, Sept. 18, with the case being treated as a pivotal point in the Taliban’s commitment to ensuring that press freedom continues under their regime.

Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, a Kabul-based journalist who is working for radio broadcaster Salam Watandar, was reportedly shot twice in the leg by an unidentified assailant while on his commute home after identifying himself as a worker of the radio station, a Committee to Protect Journalists report said.

Ahmadi was reportedly asked by a fellow passenger where he worked, as the passenger referred to Salam Watandar as an “American radio station.” After the journalist arrived at his stop, the strange passenger proceeded to pull out a gun and shoot Ahmadi five times, two of which struck at his leg, according to Voice of America.

The victim laid at the side of the street bleeding until a passerby helped him by turning their scarf into a tourniquet for his wounds.

“We demanded that they investigate this thoroughly as it's a crime and it happened under their watch,” Nasir Maimanagy, the managing director of Salam Watandar, said.

Maimanagy said that the radio station’s employees are afraid, fearing that the repercussions of the action mean that they, too, will be targeted by others in an effort to silence the radio station.

“They feel that soon they will be targeted and much worse might await them. Ahmadi was fired at five times and only two of them hit him. He is lucky to have survived,” Maimanagy said.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for the Taliban to renew and show its commitment to ensuring the safety of the journalists on the ground by releasing imprisoned journalists and investigating the attacks that they have been facing.

“The Taliban must conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into this attack, hold the perpetrator to account, and ensure that members of the press can work safely,” Steven Butler, the Asian head of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said.

Ahmadi himself now feels unsafe to work as he continues to recover from the shooting incident that almost took his life. He wonders if there is a place for journalists in the new world that the Taliban is creating.

“I didn't want to leave the country before, but after this incident, I've come to the conclusion that my life is no longer safe here,” he said.

As the Taliban tightens its grip on the country of Afghanistan, many journalists are fearing for their lives as more and more violent incidents occur in the country. This is a representational image. Sohaib Al Kharsa/Unsplash.

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