US soldier takes out journalist in Afghanistan with 11 bullets
NATO officials are admitting that they made a “mistake” last month in Afghanistan when an an unarmed BBC journalist was gunned down by an American soldier, but are defending the killing by noting that the shooting complied with the current laws of war. Just another notch on NATO’s growing list of innocent fatalities.
Yesterday NATO released a two page summary which confirms that an American soldier working with NATO troops shot and killed Ahmed Omed Khpulwa while on an excursion in southern Afghanistan on July 28, 2011. Initially NATO did not look into the murder until Mr. Khpulwa family became suspicious, which led the BBC to ask NATO to begin an official investigation of the incident.
It took NATO until now, weeks after the murder to conclude that Ahmed Omed Khpulwa’s death was not caused by insurgents, but rather by 11 bullets delivered by an American soldier. NATO will not pursue the allegations any further, being that they have no superiors, stating that the soldier “acted reasonably” when he executed the journalist in fear that the journalist was a terrorist.
RT reports that Khpulwa was on assignment at the Radio Television Afghanistan building in the town of Tarin Kot late August when the area was infiltrated by insurgent soldiers. Suicide bombers and gunmen stormed several government buildings in the town, whom were then met with retaliation by the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. The journalist was spotted near a partly collapsed wall “with something clinched in one of his fists and reaching for something on his person with the other hand,” according to the report, when a soldier, assuming, Khpulwa to be an insurgent attempting to detonate a suicide vest, opened fire.
Speaking to the UK’s The Guardian yesterday, the brother of the late journalist seemed still confused by NATO’s report, asking, “They thought he was a suicide bomber, but how?”
“He spoke English and would have been showing his press card.”
In the formal report, NATO says the incident was simply a case of “mistaken identity.” They say that the armed soldier responded with actions appropriate for dealing with an insurgent with a suicide vest.
In the case of this slain 25-year-old journalist, now 20 members of the press have been killed in Afghanistan since the American-led invasion began less than a decade ago.
In a statement from BBC, Global News Director Peter Horrocks says Mr. Khpulwak’s death “further highlights the great dangers facing journalists who put their lives on the line to provide vital news from around the world.” The Committee to Protect Journalists adds in a statement of their own that 26 journalists have been killed in 2011 alone this year across the globe.
Over 20 in all were killed on the July 28 attack, half of whom were children.