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Anger over Afghan reporter's death
Respected journalist killed in rescue operation which freed New York Times correspondent.
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2009 20:24 GMT

Men weep over the body of Afghan journalist Sultan Munadi at a hospital in Kunduz province [AFP]
 

The killing of an Afghan journalist in a rescue operation to free him and a colleague from Taliban captivity, has sparked calls for an inquiry into his death.

Sultan Munadi was killed during a British special forces raid early on Wednesday morning on the compound in Kunduz province where the journalists were being held.

Stephen Farrell, a reporter for The New York Times, was rescued unhurt.

Vincent Brossel, regional head at Reporters Without Borders, told Al Jazeera: "It is not clear at all what happened and that is why we asked the Afghan Journalists Organisation to appeal to the British government to launch an investigation.

"We must know exactly what happened because it is not clear. We don't have any clear hypothesis, and we need the truth because there is a lot of anger among Afghan journalists.

"He was a very respected and senior journalist in Afghanistan, so we must know the truth."

Raid chaos

Farrell, in a report on the newspaper's website, said: "We were all in a room, the Talibs all ran, it was obviously a raid.

Farrell had travelled to Kunduz to report on Nato's bombing [The New York Times via AFP]
 
"There were bullets all around us. I could hear British and Afghan voices."

Farrell said Munadi went forward shouting "Journalist!" but fell in a burst of gunfire, which Farrell said could have been from the rescuers or the kidnappers.

Farrell, a 46-year-old with dual Irish-British nationality, is the second New York Times journalist to be captured in less than a year.

David Rohde was held in Afghanistan and Pakistan for seven months until June, when the newspaper says he escaped from captivity in Pakistan.

Farrell and Munadi were abducted earlier this month while attempting to visit the scene of a Nato air attack in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

One British service member died during the early morning raid, Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, announced.

Afghan anger

Afghan journalists are said to be furious over the death of Munadi, a 34-year-old father of two who was working in Afghanistan on a break from university in Germany, saying negotiations were under way that would have freed the two.

Mohammad Sami Yowar, a spokesman for the Kunduz governor, said British special forces had dropped down from helicopters on to the house where the two journalists were being kept.

A Taliban commander who was in the house was killed, along with the owner of the house and a woman who was inside, Yowar said.

Farrell and Munadi had travelled to Kunduz to investigate the Nato raid that is believed to have killed scores of civilians.

Afghan officials said about 54 people died in a bombing on two tankers hijacked by Taliban fighters.

There were reports that villagers who had come to collect fuel from the tankers were among the dead, and Farrell had wanted to interview villagers.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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