Several journalists and civil society members have been killed in Afghanistan in recent months

India on Thursday expressed its concern over attacks on journalists and civil society members in Afghanistan, saying “these attacks are contrary to the peace process and should be immediately stopped.”

“The targeted killing of journalists and civil society members aimed at suppressing the freedom of expression and informed discussions on critical issues related to peace and governance is of deep concern,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said during a weekly press briefing on January 14.

In recent months, several journalists were killed by terrorists. The international press freedom group ‘Reporters Without Borders’ has called Afghanistan one of the world's deadliest countries for journalists. The Afghan Journalists' Safety Committee said seven media personnel have been killed last year.

“The people of Afghanistan long for a peaceful future and immediate and comprehensive ceasefire will lay the ground for a meaningful peace process to establish a peaceful, prosperous and progressive Afghanistan. India stands with the people of Afghanistan in its journey towards peace,” the MEA Spokesperson said.

The MEA spokesperson said India has invested heavily in peace and development in Afghanistan and it supports all efforts to bring peace and stability there.

“The peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. India is an important stakeholder and we look towards a peaceful, prosperous, sovereign, democratic and united Afghanistan,” Anurag Srivastava said.

India has already invested over US$2 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

In November, India announced a new package of over 100 high impact community projects worth US $ 80 million for Afghanistan at a global conference on Afghanistan.

India has been keenly following the evolving political situation after the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February last year. The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains on Washington''s 18-year war with Taliban in the country.

India has also been maintaining that care should be taken to ensure that any such process does not lead to any "ungoverned spaces" where terrorists and their proxies can relocate.

India has been calling upon all sections of the political spectrum in Afghanistan to work together to meet the aspirations of all people in that country, including those from the minority community for a prosperous and safe future.