Afghan journalist Noor Ahmed Noori found dead in Helmand province

Body of former New York Times journalist, working for radio station in Afghanistan, found burned and mutilated inside a bag

Noor Ahmed Noori’s body was found in a bag, mutilated and stabbed, on the side of a road in a suburb of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, according to news reports. His family said he had been abducted by armed men earlier that day and had been missing for nine hours, reports said.

Noori worked as the producer for two religious programs, “Membar” and “Mehrab,” for Bost, a local radio broadcaster that reports on cultural, religious, entertainment, and social issues, according to Ahmad Shah Passon, a director at Bost. Noori had also worked in the past as a translator for The New York Times. He had not reported on anything controversial or sensitive, Passon told CPJ.

There are conflicting reports as to whether the 29-year-old journalist was threatened before his death. Noori’s brother was cited in local reports as saying that the radio journalist had received threats in the months leading up to his death. Passon told CPJ that Noori was threatened several times, but that he did not tell his friends and colleagues and never elaborated on who threatened him or why.

Rod Nordland, the Times‘ Kabul bureau chief, told CPJ that Noori had not expressed any concern to friends or colleagues about threats related to his work for Bost or The New York Times.

No group had immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, reports said. Police in the area said they did not suspect insurgent involvement and that the manner of death was not typical of insurgent killings, Nordland told CPJ. The Times journalist added that Noori’s wallet with money was found on his body, which ruled out robbery, leading his friends and police investigatorsto suspect a personally motivated killing.

Abdul Ahad Choopan, provincial police chief, told journalists that police were investigating the murder. A roadside bomb killed Abdul Hadi Hamdard, another Afghan journalist, in Helmand in 2012, but it was unclear if the bomb had been targeted at him.


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