Afghanistan - Norwegian journalist killed in Taliban attack on Kabul hotel



    MONTREAL, Jan. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders offers its
heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of Carsten Thomassen, a
Norwegian journalist employed by the Olso-based daily Dagbladet, who was
fatally injured in an armed Taliban attack on a luxury hotel in Kabul
yesterday.
    "Civilians, including journalists, are the victims of the indiscriminate
suicide attacks being used with increasing frequency by the Taliban and their
jihadist allies," the press freedom organisation said. "Five journalists were
killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2007. These attacks on
Afghan and foreign civilians are war crimes, and we firmly condemn them."
    Two German journalists were killed in Afghanistan last October. The
police never completed the investigation into their deaths.
    Thomassen sustained serious stomach injuries in yesterday's suicide
attack on the Serena Hotel and died in a field hospital near Kabul.
    He was part of a group of journalists accompanying Norwegian foreign
minister Jonas Gahr Stoere on a visit to Kabul. Stoere, who was in the hotel
at the time of the attack, was not hurt but a Norwegian diplomat was seriously
injured.
    The attack, which has been claimed by the Taliban, left a toll of eight
dead and six wounded. It was carried by several men armed with grenades and
AK-47 rifles, one of whom blew himself up in the entrance to the hotel, which
is located in the centre of Kabul near the presidential palace and many
foreign embassies.
    Aged 38, Thomassen was based in Oslo and covered foreign affairs for
Dagbladet, which is one of Norway's leading dailies. "We feel great sorrow and
powerlessness," editor Anne Aasheim said.

    Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press
freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium,
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has
representatives in Bangkok, London, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has
more than 120 correspondents worldwide.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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