Afghan journalist stabbed to death in Kabul-palace

KABUL Mon Sep 6, 2010 9:13am EDT

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the brutal killing of a prominent Afghan television journalist, Karzai's office said on Monday.

Sayed Hamid Noori, an anchor for state network Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), was stabbed repeatedly near his home late on Sunday. Possible motives and identity of the killer remain unclear.

Afghanistan remains one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. At least 14 have been killed because of their work since the Taliban were ousted in 2001, according to media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders (www.en.rsf.org/0200)

Rahimullah Samander, the head of the Afghan Independent Journalists' Association (AIJA), said the government must do more to protect Afghan and foreign journalists.

"We strongly condemn this brutal act and urge the government not to ignore it like past incidents," he told Reuters.

Noori's killing came a day after kidnapped Japanese freelance journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka was released.

Tsuneoka was abducted in mid-April, with Afghan government officials saying he had been taken by the Taliban. Kunduz provincial governor Mohammad Omar said on Sunday Tsuneoka had been released on Saturday, most likely after a ransom was paid.

Two French journalists were also kidnapped last December in the northeast. On Sunday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's chief of staff said the journalists, Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, were alive and in good health.

Violence across Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted in late 2001, despite the presence of more than 150,000 foreign troops.

(Reporting by Hamid Shalizi; Editing by Paul Tait)

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