NATO Says Coalition Soldier Mistakenly Killed BBC Reporter in Afghanistan

Posted September 8th, 2011 at 1:35 pm (UTC-5)
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NATO says one of its soldiers killed a British Broadcasting Corporation reporter during an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan after mistaking him for a suicide bomber.

Ahmed Omed Khpulwak and 18 others were killed on July 28 when a group of suicide bombers and gunmen attacked several government buildings in the capital of Uruzgan province. Afghan forces repelled the assault with the help of the international coalition.

On Thursday, NATO released the findings of its probe into Khpulwal's death and said the BBC reporter was killed in a case of mistaken identity.

The coalition says a NATO service member shot and killed Khpulwal thinking he was an insurgent about to detonate a suicide vest.

NATO said the coalition service member involved in the incident had complied with the laws of armed conflict and “acted reasonably” under the circumstances.

NATO expressed its condolences to the Khpulwak's family. The 25-year-old reporter also worked for the Pajhwok Afghan news agency.

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John Allen, ordered the investigation into Khpulwak's death at the urging of the BBC, which said there were “conflicting reports” about who shot and killed the reporter.

Separately on Thursday, NATO said a bomb blast killed two of its service members in southern Afghanistan.

According to the independent online site that monitors the number of coalition deaths, a total of 421 members of the coalition have died so far this year in Afghanistan.

Also Thursday, Afghan officials say a roadside bomb killed a Turkish engineer working on a project in Herat province.

Another roadside bomb killed five Afghan soldiers in the eastern province of Khost on Wednesday.