G.I. Killed Afghan Journalist, NATO Says

Ahmed Khpulwak worked as a reporter for the BBC Pashto service

From Ray Rivera, the New York Times:  NATO acknowledged Thursday that an American soldier killed an Afghan journalist working for the BBC after mistaking him for a suicide bomber during a complex attack in southern Afghanistan in July.

The acknowledgment came weeks after family members of the reporter, Ahmed Omed Khpulwak, had raised questions about his death, and after an independent investigation had found strong clues suggesting that Mr. Khpulwak was not killed by insurgents in the suicide attack as initially believed. Last month, the BBC demanded an investigation by NATO.

NATO officials apologized to the family on Thursday and issued a two-page summary of the episode. The report said the soldier believed Mr. Khpulwak had fired on American troops and was about to detonate a suicide vest when he “shot the individual with his M-4, killing him. . . .”

The report describes a chaotic situation as American soldiers arrived at the RTA compound. As they moved in to clear the building, two suicide bombers detonated their explosive vests, trapping some soldiers under a collapsed wall.

Soldiers then spotted a young man later identified as Mr. Khpulwak next to a partly collapsed wall and, hearing gunshots, opened fire. One soldier then saw Mr. Khpulwak “with something clinched in one of his fists and reaching for something on his person with the other hand,” the report said. The soldier believed Mr. Khpulwak was reaching for a detonator and killed him, the report said.  (photo: RFE/RL)

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