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Associated Press journalist shot dead in Afghanistan

By Jay Jackson, Big News Network)

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - An Associated Press journalist has been shot dead in Ghazni province in Afghanistan, the fifth journalist to have been killed in the past two months.

Rahmatullah Nikzad, who was also the president of the journalists' union in Ghazni province, survived an attack in September last year.

He was killed on Monday night.

Aside from working for The Associated Press, Nikzad also freelanced for Al Jazeera.

The Taliban, often suspected of armed attacks in the country, denied involvement and condemned the slaying.

"We are saddened to learn that a professional journalist, Rahmatullah Nikzad, has been martyred in Ghazni," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid posted in a tweet.

"We strongly condemn this cowardly act and offer our condolences to the family of Mr. Nikzad."

"Nikzad had a very good relationship with us as a committed journalist," the tweet added.

Reporters Without Borders also posted a tweet: "Rahmatullah Nikzad, a journalist for several international media was killed this 12/21 in the province of Ghazni. This is the 3rd targeted murder of an afghan journo within 6 weeks. RSF calls on the UN to take concrete measures to protect."

Nikzad's death follows the slaying of TOLO news presenter Yama Siawash, Radio Azadi reporter Elyas Daee, Enekaas TV's presenter in Nangarhar Malala Maiwand, and Ariana News presenter Fardin Amini, all killed since early November.

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