Three women who worked for a TV station in the Afghan city of Jalalabad have been shot dead, in what appears to be the latest in a wave of targeted killings.
Media sources say the women, aged 18 to 20, were killed in two separate but coordinated attacks. A fourth was critically injured.
Police say they have arrested the lead gunman and have linked him to the Taliban.
The local police chief said, “We arrested him as he was trying to escape. He has admitted that he carried out the attack. He is a Taliban member.”
They say they are still looking for other attackers
The Taliban has denied any involvement in these murders but it has stepped up its attacks as the US withdraws from the country after signing a deal with them a year ago.
A wave of killings is rocking the country with journalists, activists and political figures being targeted.
The three women killed had recently finished high school and were working in the dubbing department of the privately owned Enikas TV station, said its head, Zalmai Latifi.
According to the Associated Press, Mursal Wahidi was attacked by gunmen as she was walking home. The two others – who were identified only as Shahnaz and Sadia – were killed in a separate incident, also while returning home.
“They are all dead. They were going home from the office on foot when they were shot,” Latifi said.
The injured woman was taken to hospital where she was fighting for her life, a spokesperson was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Enikas TV station says of 10 women it employed, four have now been killed including a presenter who was gunned down in December. The Islamic State claimed it was behind that attack.
Last month, two female Supreme Court judges were shot dead in the capital, Kabul.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently told the BBC that he did not fear a Taliban military takeover of the country, saying: “This is not a government that is collapsing.”
In February, Nato said it had not yet decided whether its troops will leave the war-ravaged country by May as agreed under the deal with the Taliban. Around 9,000 Nato soldiers remain, of whom about 2,500 are US troops.
One of US President Joe Biden’s tasks is to decide if his government will keep to the terms of the deal signed under his predecessor Donald Trump.