United States Agency for Global Media

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Abadullah Hananzai

RFE/RL reporter

On the morning of April 30, 2018, two coordinated suicide bombings took the life of at least 25 people in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Health Ministry officials said a suicide bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up in the Shash Darak area, home to NATO headquarters and several embassies and foreign offices as well as the Afghan intelligence service. Roughly 20 minutes later, journalists began to arrive to cover the first explosion. Among them was RFE/RL reporter, Abadullah Hananzai. A second suicide bomber, posing as a cameraman, joined the journalists as they were gathering information and blew himself up. Hananzai died on the scene.

Five days earlier, he learned that a former colleague had been gunned down at a market in Kandahar in an apparent targeted killing. Hananzai took to Facebook to vent his frustration saying, “The murder of my former colleague at Kabul News, a great journalist named Abdul Manan Arghand, has greatly upset me,” he wrote in Pashto. “Arghand is now a martyr for freedom of speech.”  It would be Hananzai’s last public Facebook post.

Hananzai had been working on an anti-narcotics project at RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan since October 2016. His previous reports focused on the social and economic implications of drug addiction in Afghanistan, as well as efforts by the Interior Ministry to crack down on international narcotics trafficking out of Afghanistan.

He previously worked for Kabul News and for Zhwandoon TV, as well as for the Educational and Cultural Center for Afghan Women.

A graduate of Kabul University, Hananzai was 26 years old.

One of Hananzai’s last Facebook posts was a message in English on April 19 and a photograph taken of himself in the compound of Radio Free Afghanistan’s Kabul bureau shortly after a rainstorm.

“Feeling fantastic. I find Peace in the Rain,” Hananzai said.

He is survived by his wife.