Two suicide bombings that happened within 20 minutes of each other in Kabul, Afghanistan, around 8 a.m. AFT are responsible for at least 30 deaths, including journalist Shah Marai.
Initial reports listed casualties in the single digits, but the numbers have grown steadily. As of 9 a.m. EDT, at least nine of those killed were journalists. This is partially due to the fact that the second bomb was detonated within a group of media personnel. The Associated Press reported that the bomber impersonated a cameraman in order to work his way into the midst of reporters before detonating his bomb.
Shah Marai has been covering the conflict in Afghanistan for Agence France Presse (AFP) over the last 15 years. According to Erie News Now, Marai wrote about how daunting it was to live in Kabul with his children. They referenced his 2016 essay, “When Hope is Gone,” where he stated the following.
“I don’t dare to take my children for a walk… all I think of are cars that can be booby-trapped, or of suicide bombers coming out of a crowd. I can’t take the risk.”
Marai is survived by his wife and six children. He also leaves behind a legacy of photojournalism that will not soon be forgotten. You can see examples of his work in the article “In pictures: Remembering photographer Shah Marai,” by BBC News commemorating him
Michele Leridon, Global News Director for AFP, released multiple statements regarding the loss of Marai, who held the position of chief photographer in Kabul, including this one, where she recognizes Marai’s dedication, professionalism, and courage.
A statement from AFP Global News Director Michele Leridon on the death of Shah Marai, AFP's chief photographer in Kabul (Part 2 of 2) pic.twitter.com/LGPBayOE58
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 30, 2018
Condolences and condemnations are common after such atrocities. However, as we’ve seen with mass shootings in the U.S., not everyone wants to hear how much others disapprove. They want impactful action that will bring an end to the senseless bloodshed. This sentiment is effectively summed up by Shuja Rabbani, a musician in Dubai whose hometown is Kabul.
Have the Afghan government officials & international community delegates in #Kabul started with their condemnation tweets yet? Don't bother. Your condemnations are hollow and mean nothing when reality on the ground is more Afghans paying with their blood.
— Shuja Rabbani (@ShujaRabbani) April 30, 2018
This is a devastating time for many and is just one among many attacks that continue to plague the country of Afghanistan. AP News also reported that, as with many other suicide bombings, IS has claimed responsibility, referring to the suicide bombers as martyrs. In truth, Shah Marai and the other journalists lost in Kabul are the ones many will remember as worthy of being called martyrs.