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RSF wants ISAF to protect civilians, reporters

RSF wants ISAF to protect civilians, reporters

Sep 10, 2011 - 13:42

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Reporters Without Borders, also known as RSF, on Saturday urged NATOinfo-icon-led troops in Afghanistaninfo-icon to take greater care to protect civilians during clashes with the Talibaninfo-icon.

The call came after ISAFinfo-icon acknowledged on Thursday that Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak, who worked for Pajhwok Afghan News and BBC, was shot dead by US troops during a clash with insurgents in Tirinkot on July 28.

According to the findings of an ISAF investigation, Khpalwak was shot when he tried to show his press card because the US soldier thought he was about to detonate a suicide vest.

A statement from RSF said: "We again offer our condolences to Khpalwak’s family. This mishap has highlighted the constant danger for civilians and journalists, who are often at the center of the fighting.

"We had asked for light to be shed on the circumstances surrounding Khpalwak's death and we are satisfied with the investigation that was carried out." The journalist protection group said.

It urged the NATO-led force to take more care while securing the sites of clashes. The protection of journalists and civilians must continue to be a priority for all soldiers during their presence in Afghanistan, it stressed.

The watchdog went on to call for assistance to Khpalwak's family, as it would be to the family of an officer killed in combat. "Although US soldiers were responsible for Khpalwak's death, it is important to stress the Taliban’s responsibility as well.

"It was the Taliban who launched the attack that led to his death and it is the Taliban who continue to pose the leading threat to the safety of journalists and to the freedom of the media and information in Afghanistan."


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