Journalists in Afghanistan face increasing danger as the country's elections approach, the Committee to Protect Journalists has warned – after the "horrific murder" of an AFP reporter.
Sardar Ahmad, a senior reporter for the French news agency's Kabul bureau, was killed in an attack late last week when four gunmen stormed a hotel during celebrations for the Afghan new year.
He had worked for AFP since 2003 and covered the daily briefings by the US-led coalition at Bagram airbase, before going on to become the agency's senior reporter in Kabul, covering all aspects of life, war and politics in his native country.
Ahmad was one of nine people killed in the attack – including his wife and two of his three children. The Taliban has reportedly claimed responsibility.
CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney said: "His death is a tremendous loss for Afghanistan's press, which works in an atmosphere of tremendous instability, especially as elections draw closer."
Presidential elections are due to be held in Afghanistan next month.
Earlier this month, British-Swedish journalist Nils Horner was shot dead in broad daylight in Kabul's diplomatic district.
The International Federation of Journalists described this latest attack as a "horrifying killing".
IFJ president Jim Boumelha said: "We express our deep sadness following the horrific murder of the journalist Sardar Ahmad and his family in Kabul and we send our condolences to their loved ones at this very difficult time."