American Friends of Kurdistan statement on rocket attacks on Erbil, Kurdistan and jailing of journalists and activists
American Friends of Kurdistan condemns the rocket attacks on the autonomous Kurdistan Region capital, Erbil, on Monday, February 15th. Kurdistan is known for its stability, and any attempt to cause chaos by militias backed by neighboring states is a threat to the entire region. The Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) confirmed that approximately 14 rockets were launched, one civilian contractor was killed, and nine were injured along with civilian injuries. A radical Shiite group called Awliya al-Dam, or Guardians of Blood has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
We encourage the Global Coalition and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to continue in their efforts in investigating the attacks. It is critical that the Kurdistan Region remain stable.
While the autonomous region is under threat, its citizens should not fear their government. AFK has been monitoring the persecution of journalists and activists in the Kurdistan Region. Regrettably, the KRG has imprisoned five journalists and activists to 6 years in prison on fabricated charges. The KRG must not replicate the Turkish government or the Iranian regime in targeting Kurds. Freedom of speech, press, and assembly must be protected and upheld. Highlighting the mass corruption, nepotism, lack of transparency in the Kurdistan Region should be welcomed by the government, not the opposite. We call on the KRG to immediately release the five individuals. Continuing to target Kurds will make Kurdistan no different from its neighboring states. We push the KRG to respect its citizens and welcome real reform.
American Friends of Kurdistan will continue to educate and advocate on these issues in Washington.