Courage Award Winners | Afghanistan

Sharifa Akhlas | 1999 Courage in Journalism Award

Farida Nekzad | 2008 Courage in Journalism Award
Najiba Ayubi | 2013 Courage in Journalism Award

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union both tried to spread influences in Afghanistan, which led to a bloody war in 1979 between the US-backed mujahideen forces and the Soviet-backed Afghan government, the Wikipedia says. The Soviet Union army withdrew in 1989 under continuous pressure by the mujahedin, and a series of civil war followed, according to the Central Intelligence Agency website.

The terrorism group Taliban emerged in 1994 amid the country’s civil war and anarchy. Following the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, the the United Nations Security Council authorized the creation of the International Security Assistance Force to help maintain security in Afghanistan and assist the Karzai administration.

Three decades of war made Afghanistan one of the world’s most dangerous countries, particularly for journalists. Afghanistan ranks 128th on the Press Freedom Index list with an increase of 22 from last year, according to 2013 World Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders. Committee to Protect Journalists documented 24 Journalists have been Killed in Afghanistan since 1992, with the latest in September 20, 2011, when Farhad Taqaddosi from Press TV was killed in Kabul. No journalists were in prison according to CPJ’s reports from December 2012.

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