Swedish Journalist Nils Horner Shot Dead In Afghanistan

A Swedish Journalist working for Sveriges Radio has been shot dead in Afghanistan. Nils Horner, 51, was fired upon by unidentified gunmen, according to Time. The incident happened in the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood of Kabul, the war stricken capital of the country. The area is known to have a high population of expats, journalists and dignitaries thanks to it being an area where embassies and western non-governmental organizations have their offices.

Initial reports say that the yet to be unidentified gunmen used a pistol fitted with a silencer to attack Nils. According to CNN, Horner who was at the time sitting in a vehicle with his translator and driver, was preparing to do a series of interviews with the locals on the upcoming elections in Afghanistan. The gunmen fled the scene immediately. A statement released by the Afghan Police said that they are “continuing to their efforts to arrest the culprits of the incident”. Nils was shot at the back of his head and was rushed the hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officials from the Swedish Afghanistan Committee at Kabul were the first ones to confirm that the person attacked was Nils Horner and confirmed his passing. There were earlier reports about the police having arrested two suspects – but police authorities have retracted the statement.

The area where the attack happened is also home to a popular Lebanese restaurant called Taverna du Liban, which has seen attacks in the past. In January, as many as 21 people, mostly foreigners were killed in an explosion targeted at the restaurant. Some reports also say that Horner was on his way to the same restaurant for lunch.

The Afghan Police add that Horner had arrived at Kabul just two days ago. Sveriges Radio has issued a statement condoling the death of Nils Horner who was described by the companies’ Director-General Cilla Benkö as “one of our absolute best and most experienced correspondents”. She adds, “What has happened to him today is terrible. We are now trying to get as many details as we can. We know there are high-risk areas. Kabul isn’t an area Swedish Radio should not cover.”

Nils Horner was an experienced journalist and had been to Afghanistan in the past as well. He had covered the 2001 fall of the Taliban, the 2004 tsunami in Asia and the Iraq war in 2003.

Nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. The Taliban has denied involvement but added that they are in touch with other insurgent groups to ascertain if they were behind the killing of Nils Horner. The attack comes close on the heels of a recent announcement by President Barack Obama saying that the US would continue to move forward with its plan to withdraw all troops from there by the end of 2014.

[Image: Mattias Ahlm/Sveriges Radio]