In Afghanistan, a double suicide blast in Kabul this morning has killed 29 people, including eight journalists. ISIS has claimed responsibility. The first blast occurred in the central district of Kabul, which is home to NATO headquarters and a number of embassies. As first responders and journalists rushed to the scene, a second attacker disguised as a cameraman detonated a bomb, killing eight journalists and photographers.
Among the victims was Agence France-Presse’s celebrated photographer Shah Marai. He has been working with AFP in Afghanistan for two decades, beginning as a driver for the agency under Taliban rule and working his way up to become AFP’s chief photographer in Kabul. He was the father of six children, including a newborn daughter. The AFP global news director called Marai’s death “a devastating blow for the brave staff of our close-knit Kabul bureau and the entire agency.”
Last year, Marai wrote an essay about his and his family’s life in Kabul entitled “When Hope Is Gone.” In it, he wrote, “Life seems to be even more difficult than under the Taliban because of the insecurity. I don’t dare to take my children for a walk. I have five and they spend their time cooped up inside the house. I have never felt life to have so little prospects and I don’t see a way out.” Those are the words of AFP’s chief photographer in Kabul, Shah Marai, killed this morning along with seven other journalists in a double ISIS suicide bomb attack that killed at least 29 people in total.