KABUL - Two staff of Radio Hamsada, a local radio station based in northeastern Takhar province, have been shot dead inside their office by unidentified gunmen, according to a statement by the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee (AJSC). Shafiq Arya and Rahimullah were shot and killed by two gunmen who entered the premises of Radio Hamsada using commercial advertisements as an excuse Tuesday night. Local authorities said the motive and perpetrators of these killings were not yet known, but they started investigations.

Denouncing the brutal act, the AJSC called on the government to identify the perpetrators and make sure that the justice is served, according to the statement. Taliban and other insurgent groups have been targeting journalists working in Afghanistan. According to statistics compiled by the AJSC, 17 journalists have been murdered in Afghanistan in 2018.

Meanwhile, a clash between govt forces and the Taliban group in Garmsir district of southern Helmand province has left five militants dead and injured three others, a statement from the provincial government said on Wednesday.

According to the statement, the clash flared up after the government forces stormed a Taliban hideout in Habibullah Kalai area on Tuesday which killed five insurgents on the spot and forcing other insurgents to flee.

The security forces have also discovered and defused 25 mines and explosive devices from the area, the statement said.

It also said that the operations would continue until the area is cleansed of the insurgents. Taliban militants haven’t commented.