KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban says it was behind a bomb attack targeting TV station workers that left seven people dead in the Afghan capital, months after promising to exact revenge for what it said was false and unfair reporting.
The Taliban "made good on its promise of targeting Tolo TV, the country’s largest network for promoting obscenity, irreligiousness, foreign culture and nudity," according to a statement posted by its media arm on Thursday.
According to the statement signed by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, the terror organization was not attacking the media in general. Instead it was targeting what it called "an intelligence network opposing our national unity and our religious and national values."
The Taliban threatened Tolo in October after it reported allegations of summary executions, rape, kidnappings and other abuses by Taliban fighters during the battle for the city of Kunduz. The Taliban briefly captured and held Kunduz before being dislodged by U.S.-backed Afghan forces. The Taliban also threatened 1TV, another popular station.
Tolo has also angered the Taliban and other conservatives in Afghanistan by broadcasting foreign soap operas, showing women on television and running talent shows featuring singing and dancing.
On Wednesday, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told NBC News a bomber in a Toyota targeted the minibus outside the Russian Embassy in Kabul. He said four of the seven dead were women and that 27 civilians were injured — mostly production-company employees.
The attack was broadly condemned.
"Murdering those who work to enlighten, educate, and entertain will not stop Afghans from exercising their universal human right to freedom of expression," according to a statement issued by the American Embassy on Wednesday evening. "A vibrant media is one of the great successes of the Afghan people over the past 14 years."