Afghan reporter for BBC killed in Helmand

Sun Jun 8, 2008 11:28am EDT

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LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, June 8 (Reuters) - An Afghan reporter working for BBC radio has been killed in the southern province of Helmand, Afghan officials said on Sunday.

Abdol Samad Rohani, who worked for BBC radio, reported on a drug-burning ceremony at the airport in Lashkar Gah, Helmand's provincial capital, on Saturday morning, then after lunch left home without saying where he was going, local reporters said.

His body was found on Sunday. Local officials said he had been abducted and killed.

Helmand is one of the most violent provinces in Afghanistan and alone produces nearly half the world's opium, which is refined to make heroin.

Afghan security forces backed by mainly British troops hold a string of towns along the Helmand River that feeds a fertile strip cutting through the desert, but Taliban insurgents are still active throughout the area.

A Taliban spokesman denied any involvement in the killing.

Rohani had worked alongside the BBC's Kabul correspondent and was the Helmand reporter for the Pashto language service of the BBC World Service.

BBC World News Editor Jon Williams said: "Rohani's courage and dedication have been a key part of the BBC's reporting from Afghanistan in recent years."

Rohani was the second journalist killed in Afghanistan this year. A Norwegian reporter died in a Taliban suicide bomb attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul in January. Two journalists were killed in Afghanistan in 2007.

Another BBC reporter was shot dead in Somalia on Saturday.



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