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Afghan journalists blame NATO for death of colleague during rescue

Afghan journalists blame NATO for death of colleague during rescue
That was then: British reporter for the New York Times Stephen Farrell (L) and Afghan reporter Mohammad Sultan Munadi (R) film and talk to a wounded Afghan man in a hospital in Kunduz in this September 4, 2009 photo. NATO troops released Farrell in northern Afghanistan in a commando raid before dawn on Wednesday, but Munadi was killed. Farrell and his Afghan colleague Munadi had been abducted while attempting to visit the scene of a NATO air strike that killed scores of Afghans in the north of the country. Picture taken September 4, 2009.

A group of Afghan journalists has blamed the international coalition for the death of an abducted colleague during the British commando rescue of a New York Times reporter. They have accused the troops of having a "double standard" for Western and Afghan lives, the Associated Press (AP) has reported.

The accusation came on Thursday even as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said that troops had carried out the raid Wednesday in an attempt to recover both British-Irish reporter Stephen Farrell and his Afghan translator Sultan Munadi and that the mission was authorized as the "best chance of protecting life."

The newly formed Media Club of Afghanistan (MCA) — set up by Afghan reporters who work with international news outlets — also condemned the Taliban for abducting both journalists last week in northern Afghanistan as they investigated reports of civilian deaths in a German-ordered airstrike.

Some details: [Link]

More than 50 Afghan reporters, wearing cameras and carrying notebooks, laid flowers Thursday at the Kabul cemetery grave of Munadi, 34, who died in gunfire as British commandos launched the rescue operation in northern Kunduz province. Farrell survived and was taken away in a helicopter. One British commando was also killed in the raid.

In a statement, the journalists' group said it held international forces responsible for launching a military operation without exhausting nonviolent channels. The journalists also said it was "inhumane" for the British forces to rescue Farrell, who has dual British-Irish nationality, and also retrieve the body of the British commando killed in the raid, while leaving behind Munadi's body.

Munadi's body was retrieved Wednesday afternoon following negotiations with local elders, said Mohammad Omar, the Kunduz provincial governor. He said villagers moved the body to a local hospital, where staff put it in a coffin, loaded it into a car and sent it to Kabul. Munadi's family buried him in the capital late Wednesday.

Fazul Rahim, an Afghan producer for CBS News who was involved in drafting the journalists' statement, said the troops' leaving the body showed a lack of respect.
"It shows a double standard between a foreign life and an Afghan life," he said.
President Hamid Karzai has condemned the killing and called for an investigation. His spokesman Hamed Elmi said Thursday that the government was not involved in the decision to mount the raid. He said it would be unusual for international forces to involve them in that type of call.

Date posted: September 10, 2009 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 322