REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

NATO admits to shooting dead BBC journalist

BBC journalist Ahmed Omed Khpulwak was shot dead in Afghanistan in a case of mistaken identity when a U.S. soldier took him for a suicide bomber, says NATO
BBC journalist Ahmed Omed Khpulwak was shot dead in Afghanistan in a case of mistaken identity when a U.S. soldier took him for a suicide bomber, says NATO

BBC

NATO has admitted shooting dead a BBC journalist in Afghanistan in July under the mistaken belief that he was a suicide bomber, report the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Ahmed Omed Khpulwak, a reporter for the BBC's Pashto service, was among at least 19 people who died on 28 July, when insurgents attacked multiple targets, including a government compound and the Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) premises in Tarin Kot, Uruzgan.

In a statement released on 8 September, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said Khpulwak was shot by a U.S. soldier who mistook him for an insurgent about to set off a device, say the members.

The statement said that U.S. forces believed the reporter had opened fire at them, but later found him to be unarmed. According to some reports, the journalist was attempting to produce his press card when he was killed.

The report said a member of the U.S. military, who has not been identified, acted "reasonably under the circumstances" when he shot the freelance reporter. Khpulwak was shot 11 times.

"We note ISAF's admission but urge all sides to the conflict to ensure that media facilities are not turned into combat zones," said IFJ. "This tragic incident must be properly assessed to serve a lesson for future interventions on premises where journalists and media staff work."

IFJ says that this latest deadly incident shows the urgency in finding ways to provide journalists with adequate protection. IFJ plans to push for concrete measures and governments' commitment to protecting media during this week's United Nations Inter-Agency Meeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity in Paris.

The BBC recognised that ISAF's clarification has ended "a period of uncertainty." But despite the admission, Afghanistan has an abysmal record for combating impunity. The country placed sixth on CPJ's 2011 Impunity Index, which highlights countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to investigate.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Related stories on ifex.org
  • IFJ mourns BBC journalist killed by NATO forces

    The International Security Assistance Force has admitted that Ahmed Omed Khpulwak was killed by a US soldier who mistook him for an insurgent during a firefight.



Latest Tweet:

It's 10 mnths since the murder of journalist #DaphneCaruanaGalizia. She exposed corruption in the Maltese establish… https://t.co/wSmLLyRsTX

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.

CLOSE