Overseas Civilian Contractors

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BBC journalist was killed by Nato troops in Afghanistan

Commanders say Omaid Khpalwak was ‘mistakenly’ shot dead as suicide bombers attacked a police station

Jeremy Kelly in Kabul for Guardian UK  August 8, 2011

Nato has admitted accidentally shooting dead a BBC journalist in Afghanistan during a battle against insurgents, the Guardian has learned.

Military officials met close relatives of Omaid Khpalwak on Thursday and apologised for their “mistake” during an operation against a squad of insurgents, who had attacked a police command post.

Khpalwak, who was hiding in fear during the attack and spoke good English, was shot 11 times. His brother Jawid, who always maintained that his brother was killed by Nato forces, said his family remained angry at Nato’s actions on the day.

“They thought he was a suicide bomber, but how?” Jawid asked. “He spoke English and would have been showing his press card.”

It is understood that it was US troops who shot Omaid. They were responding to an attack on a police command post near their base in Tarin Kot, the provincial capital of Uruzgan on 28 July.

A Nato official confirmed that the military alliance had met the family and offered its condolences for the mistake. The official said they would issue a press release shortly.

Omaid Khpalwak was at a TV station that adjoined the command post when a squad of suicide bombers attacked. He hid in fear, texting his brother: “I am hiding. Death has come.” Then, soon after, “Pray for me if I die”.

Omaid worked for the BBC as its stringer in the southern province of Uruzgan, as well as an Afghan online news service. His brother said he was still receiving threats after speaking out against the foreign military.

September 8, 2011 - Posted by | Afghanistan, Civilian Casualties, NATO | , , ,

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