| Anger over Afghan reporter's death
||Al Jazeera and Agencies
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 capture has sparked calls for an inquiry into his death.
Sultan Munadi was killed during a British Special Forces raid on the compound where they were being held early on Wednesday morning.
Steven 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 amongst Afghan journalists.
"He was a very respected and senior journalist in Afghanistan, so we must know the truth."
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, northern Afghanistan.
One British service member died during the early morning raid, Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, announced.
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.
| Times Reporter Is Freed in Afghan Raid That Kills Aide
||The New York Times
Stephen Farrell, a New York Times reporter held captive by militants in northern Afghanistan, was freed in a military commando raid early Wednesday, but his Afghan interpreter, a British commando and an Afghan woman were killed in the raid.
Gunmen seized Mr. Farrell and his interpreter, Sultan Munadi, on Saturday while they were working in a village near Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan.
They were reporting on the aftermath of NATO airstrikes on Friday that exploded two fuel tankers hijacked by Taliban militants and killed scores of people, including an uncertain number of civilians.
In a brief telephone call about 7:30 p.m. New York time on Tuesday, Mr. Farrell told Susan Chira, the foreign editor of The Times: “I’m out! I’m free!”
Ms. Chira said Mr. Farrell told her that he had been “extracted” by a commando raid carried out by “a lot of soldiers” in a fierce firefight with his captors. He said Mr. Munadi was fatally shot. “He was trying to protect me up to the last minute,” Mr. Farrell said.
A statement from Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain announced the commando’s death, without giving any further details. Some British media, including the BBC and The Times of London, have reported that Mr. Brown personally approved the raid.
An Afghan official confirmed the death of the woman. .
Mr. Farrell, 46, joined The Times in July 2007 as a correspondent in the Baghdad bureau. He has spent many years covering the struggles of the Afghan and Iraqi people and built a respected reputation for his reporting on the Middle East and South Asia. He holds British and Irish citizenship.
Mr. Munadi, who was 34 and the father of two children, had worked regularly with The Times and other news organizations and was in the process of studying for a master’s degree in public policy in Germany. Back briefly in Afghanistan, he had returned to his role as a translator. He had hoped to one day work in public education to ease the problem of widespread illiteracy in Afghanistan.
Mr. Farrell, speaking to colleagues at The Times, said that he and Mr. Munadi were moved several times over their four days of captivity, and were finally moved into a very small room. In the first two days, he said, they had felt optimistic that they would be released.
The men holding them talked freely on their cellphones, Mr. Farrell said, and on the third day, some new Taliban figures, evidently more senior and from outside the immediate district, arrived. Mr. Munadi told Mr. Farrell they discussed moving the captives from the Kunduz area.
The atmosphere grew menacing, Mr. Farrell said. The captors taunted Mr. Munadi, reminding him of a case two years ago in which an Italian journalist taken hostage in Helmand Province was freed while his Afghan translator was beheaded.
Early Wednesday, the thump-thumping of approaching helicopters became audible.
“We were all in a room, the Talibs all ran, it was obviously a raid,” Mr. Farrell said. “We thought they would kill us.”
The captors scattered, he said, and the two men initially stayed put, fearing to be caught in any cross-fire. Then one of the captors came back and tipped his gun toward them, he said, but left without firing. The two men waited a bit, then made their way out of the room into a courtyard. Mr. Munadi leading, they scuttled along the outside wall of the compound. “It was a big, high mud-brick wall,” Mr. Farrell said. He said he could hear British and Afghan voices. “There were bullets all around us,” he said.
In the darkness, they ran along the wall for 60 feet or so, and then Mr. Munadi put up his hands and walked into the open, calling “journalist, journalist!” Gunfire broke out and he fell, Mr. Farrell said, just a couple of feet away.
“He was three seconds away from safety,” Mr. Farrell said. “I thought we were safe. He just walked into a hail of bullets.”
He said he dove into a ditch and waited a couple of minutes, listening for which direction the British voices were coming from, and then shouted, “British hostage! British hostage!”
The British voices told him to come over. As he did, Mr. Farrell said, he saw Mr. Munadi.
“He was lying in the same position as he fell,” Mr. Farrell said. “That’s all I know. I saw him go down in front of me. He did not move. He’s dead. He was so close, he was just two feet in front of me when he dropped.”
Neither The Times nor Mr. Farrell’s family knew that the military operation was taking place.
In a statement, Mr. Brown, the British prime minister, said the raid was a British operation supported by the Afghan authorities and NATO allies, including the United States. He praised the heroism of the British commandos and confirmed, “with very deep sadness,” the death of one of them.
“This operation was carried out after extensive planning and consideration,” Mr. Brown said, adding that whenever “British nationals are kidnapped, we and our allies will do everything in our power to free them.
“Sadly, we were unable to rescue Stephen’s Afghan interpreter, Sultan Munadi, and we send his family our condolences,” he said.
President Hamid Karzai “strongly condemned the killing of an experienced Afghan journalist,” his office said in a statement Wednesday, according to the Agence France-Presse. The statement said Mr. Munadi “was killed mercilessly by the enemies of Afghanistan” — shorthand for Taliban insurgents — but did not give further details.
Until now, the kidnapping had been kept quiet by The Times and most other news organizations out of concern for the men’s safety.
“We feared that media attention would raise the temperature and increase the risk to the captives,” said Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times. “We’re overjoyed that Steve is free, but deeply saddened that his freedom came at such a cost. We are doing all we can to learn the details of what happened. Our hearts go out to Sultan’s family and to the family of the British commando who gave his life in the rescue.”
The rescue of Mr. Farrell came about 11 weeks after David Rohde, another reporter for The Times, escaped and made his way to freedom after more than seven months of captivity in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In that case as well, The Times and other news organizations kept Mr. Rohde’s kidnapping silent out of fear for his safety. An Afghan journalist colleague who was kidnapped along with Mr. Rohde, Tahir Ludin, also escaped.
Mr. Rohde, who worked with Mr. Munadi in Afghanistan, called him “an extraordinary journalist, colleague and human being.”
“He represented the best of Afghanistan,” Mr. Rohde said. “It was an honor to work with him.”
Mr. Farrell’s local Afghan driver, whom The Times did not identify to protect his safety, evaded capture and gave this account of what happened Saturday morning.
Around 8:30 a.m., Mr. Farrell, Mr. Munadi and the driver set out from Kunduz to a small village to the south where the two fuel tankers had been attacked by NATO warplanes on Friday.
As the three men sped toward the village, they discussed what to do if stopped by militants along the way. Mr. Munadi had called a friend in the village Friday night after the attack, and the friend had warned him that the villagers were very angry about the attacks.
At the site of the attack, Mr. Farrell and Mr. Munadi got out to interview a group of three or four people near the burned-out hulks of the fuel trucks.
Soon, though, a crowd began to gather, some arriving by car and motorcycle, others by fording the river. The driver said that some were local villagers and some appeared to be Pashtuns from southern province of Kandahar.
Mr. Farrell interviewed one man who recounted that he heard “the noise of planes turning in the sky for three hours, and after that we heard the bombing.”
During the interview, an old man approached Mr. Farrell and Mr. Munadi and warned them and the others to leave, as the shots of an automatic rifle rang out nearby. Again the old man warned the journalists to leave.
Just then, people started shouting, “The Taliban are coming!” Across the river, the driver said he saw a group of about 10 militants with Kalashnikovs and machine guns running toward them.
Pandemonium broke out, as people in the crowd fled. The driver said he dashed for some tall grass and rice fields and ran for 20 minutes with the two teenage boys who had sounded the alarm about the approaching fighters.
The driver said he then got a call from Mr. Munadi on his cellphone. Mr. Munadi told the driver that he and Mr. Farrell were being held by the militants, and that if he came back, the militants had promised to release them all.
But the driver said he refused and continued running with the boys until he stopped, exhausted and thirsty. One of the boys threatened to turn the driver over to the Taliban if he did not give him his cellphone and some money. He did.
The driver eventually made his way to a road, where a passing taxi picked him up and took him to the police headquarters in Kunduz. He alerted Mr. Farrell’s colleagues in Kabul at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Carlotta Gall and Richard A. Oppel Jr. contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and John F. Burns from London.
| Commandos free kidnapped journalist in Afghanistan
KABUL:- NATO commandos on Wednesday rescued a New York Times reporter held by the Taliban in Afghanistan in an airborne raid that left his Afghan colleague, two civilians and a British soldier dead, officials said.
Gunmen snatched Stephen Farrell, who has dual British-Irish nationality, and Sultan Munadi four days earlier while they were reporting on a controversial NATO air strike that targeted fuel tankers and killed scores of people.
Farrell and Munadi were the second team from The New York Times to be kidnapped in Afghanistan in less than a year. Their abduction highlighted growing insecurity in the once relatively peaceful north of the country.
London's Ministry of Defence said a British soldier was killed in Wednesday's operation but refused to confirm media reports that British special forces were involved, while lamenting the death of his Afghan translator.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to the "breathtaking heroism" of those who carried out the raid and thanked the Afghan authorities and NATO allies for their support.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which deploys 64,500 troops from more than 40 nations against the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan, confirmed the operation in the northern province of Kunduz.
"Early this morning, joint forces from ISAF and Afghanistan entered a series of compounds in Kunduz and rescued the New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell," an ISAF spokesman told AFP.
Farrell, who is married, was unhurt. But his interpreter, a 34-year-old father of two who was working in Afghanistan on a break from university studies in Germany, was killed in a hail of gunfire, the newspaper reported.
In a telephone call Farrell, 46, told The New York Times: "I'm out! I'm free!" the newspaper reported.
Prior to the release, the kidnapping was kept quiet by the newspaper and most major news organisations out of concern for the men's safety.
"In this operation, a woman and a child were killed," said Abdul Wahid, governor of Kunduz's Chardara district.
"The journalists were kept in the same house where the woman and boy were killed," he told AFP, although he was unable to say who killed the civilians.
Farrell told The New York Times that he and his captors heard helicopters approach before the dramatic rescue.
"We were all in a room, the Talibs all ran, it was obviously a raid," Farrell said. "We thought they would kill us. We thought, should we go out?"
Farrell said that as he and Munadi ran outside, he heard voices. "There were bullets all around us. I could hear British and Afghan voices."
The Afghan governor in Kunduz, Mohammad Omar, initially said that Munadi was killed by the Taliban during the raid, but Farrell told the paper he did not know who fired the fatal bullets.
Munadi advanced shouting "Journalist! Journalist!" but dropped dead in a hail of bullets just in front of his colleague.
President Hamid Karzai condemned his killing "by the enemies of Afghanistan" -- a standard formulation referring to the Taliban. The UN envoy to Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said he was "greatly saddened" by news of Munadi's death.
Writing last week in the newspaper's At War blog, for which Farrell was chief blogger, Munadi wrote of his love for Afghanistan and why he would never leave the war-torn country permanently.
"Now I am hopeful of a better situation. And if I leave this country, if other people like me leave this country, who will come to Afghanistan? Will it be the Taliban who come to govern this country?"
Eleven weeks ago, New York Times journalist David Rohde and a local reporter escaped following seven months in captivity after being abducted outside Kabul with their driver, according to the newspaper.
"We're overjoyed that Steve is free, but deeply saddened that his freedom came at such a cost," said Bill Keller, the executive editor of the New York Times.
"We are doing all we can to learn the details of what happened. Our hearts go out to Sultan's family," he added.
Farrell is an experienced and well-respected reporter who has worked for the New York Times since July 2007, largely in Iraq, and was formerly Middle East correspondent for Britain's The Times newspaper.
He was also kidnapped and held captive for around eight hours at gunpoint near Baghdad in April 2004.
|UK soldier dies in Afghan rescue
A UK soldier has died in a raid to free a kidnapped reporter in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.
He was killed in a bid to rescue New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell. Journalist Sultan Munadi and two other Afghan civilians also died in the raid.
Mr Farrell, who holds British and Irish nationality, was "extracted" by "a lot of soldiers", the New York Times said.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown praised the "breathtaking heroism" of those involved in the rescue operation.
The soldier's next of kin have been informed, the MoD said, and the number of British soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 is now 213.
In a separate incident, two British servicemen were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the entrance to Camp Bastion, the UK's main military base in Helmand province.
In the rescue mission in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, Mr Munadi, who worked as an interpreter with Mr Farrell, also died along with two other Afghan civilians during a firefight between Nato forces and the Taliban.
Mr Farrell, 46, had travelled there to investigate an air strike last Friday on two hijacked fuel tankers when he was kidnapped.
The New York Times website reported he phoned the foreign editor of the newspaper at about 0030 BST (2330 GMT) on Wednesday and said: "I'm out! I'm free." Mr Farrell said he also called his wife.
In a telephone call to his newspaper, he said he and his captors had heard helicopters approach before the rescue.
"We were all in a room, the Talibs all ran, it was obviously a raid," Mr Farrell told the New York Times. "We thought they would kill us. We thought should we go out?"
Mr Farrell said he ran outside with his interpreter, who AFP news agency reports was a 34-year-old man working in Afghanistan while on a break from university studies in Germany.
"There were bullets all around us. I could hear British and Afghan voices," he continued.
The correspondent said father-of-two Mr Munadi advanced shouting: "Journalist! Journalist!" But the translator was shot and collapsed.
Mr Farrell said he did not know whether the shots had been fired by militants or their rescuers.
"Greatest of courage"
He said he dived into a ditch and after a minute or two, shouted: "British hostage!"
Mr Farrell then heard British voices telling him to come over and as he did, saw the body of Mr Munadi.
Mr Brown hailed the soldier who died for displaying the "greatest of courage", adding: "His bravery will not be forgotten."
The prime minister said the operation had taken place "after extensive planning and consideration" but praised the heroism of those involved, who "knew the high risks they were running".
He also offered his condolences to Mr Munadi's family.
The head of the Afghan Independent Journalists' Association, Rahimullah Samandar, said the raid showed international forces did not care about Afghan reporters.
Mr Samandar said it was not the first time a kidnapped Afghan journalist had been killed while a Western colleague was freed.
Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, said: "We're overjoyed that Steve is free, but deeply saddened that his freedom came at such a cost."
It is not the first time Mr Farrell has been abducted while on assignment - in 2004 he was kidnapped in the Iraqi city of Falluja while working for the London Times newspaper.
Mr Farrell is the second New York Times journalist to be kidnapped in Afghanistan in a year.
In June, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Rohde and his Afghan colleague were abducted in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and moved across the border to Pakistan from where they escaped.
افغان ولسمشر حامد کرزي په کندوز کې د افغان خبريال سلطان محمد منادي وژنه په کلکه وغندله .
بي بي سي
د ولسمشرۍ له ماڼۍ نه په يوه خپره شوې خبرپاڼه کې د ارواښاد منادي وژل کېدل په افغانستان کې د ژونالېزم لپاره د حقايقو ضياع بلل شوې ده .
بل خوا د افغانستان د اطلاعاتو او کلتور وزارت هم د افغان خبريال سلطان منادي وژنه غندلې او په دې اړه يې د پلټنو غوښتنه کړې ده.
د خبريالانو له حقونو د دفاع يو شمېر ټولنو هم دغه پېښه غندلې ده او ټينگار يې کړى دى چې ناټو ځواکونو په خپلو عملياتو کې د افغان خبريال ژغورلو ته پام نه دى کړى .
منادي څنګه ووژل شو؟
د کندوز والي وايي تېره شپه بهرنيو ځواکونو د دغه ولايت په چهاردرې ولسوالۍ کې د نيويارک ټايمز تښتول شوي خبريال سټيفن فارل د خوشي کولو په موخه عمليات وکړل .
والي محمد عمر بي بي سي ته وويل چې د عملياتو په پايله کې د نيويارک ټايمز خبريال بهرنيو ځواکونو ورسره يووړ خو ژباړونکی سلطان منادي يې ووژل شو .
د نيويارک ټايمز دغه خبريال له خپل افغان ژباړونکي سلطان سره يوځای د وږي پر 14 مه د کندوز له چهاردرې ولسوالۍ څخه وسله والو طالبانو وتښتول .
د نيويارک ټايمز دغه خبريال ويلي چې سلطان منادي له طالبانو سره په نښته کې د هغوی لخوا ووژل شو .
دغه خبريال چهاردرې ولسوالۍ ته د کندوز د بمبار د رپوټ جوړولو لپاره ورغلی و .
د صبح بخير افغانستان راديو مدير باري سلام بي بي سي پښتو وېبپاڼې ته وويل چې ښاغلي منادي له ٢٠٠٢ نه تر ٢٠٠٥پورې له نيويارک ټايمز سره کار کاوه، چې تر هغه وړاندې له سور صليب سره و .
ښاغلي سلام زياته کړه چې سلطان منادي شپږ مياشتې وړاندې جرمني ته د ماسټرۍ لپاره هم تللی و.
سلطان د صبح بخير افغانستان راديو د توليد برخې مشري هم پرغاړه درلوده .
د نيويارک ټايمز دغه خبريال تر خوشي کېدو وروسته ويلي چې د ناټو ځواکونو د ګڼو سرتېرو د عملياتو او جګړې په پايله کې د طالبانو له ولکې راخوشی شوی دی .
زه بهر يم، زه خوشی يم
نوموړي له خوشي کېدو وروسته د نيويارک ټايمز ورځپاڼې د بهرنيو خبرونو اېډېټر ته د تيلې فون پر کرښه ويلي چې : " زه بهر يم، زه خوشی شوم."
سټيفن فارل په ٢٠٠٤ کال کې هم په عراق کې تښتول شوی و، چې هغه مهال يې له يوې برتانوۍ ورځپاڼې سره کار کاوه .
ښاغلي فارل د نيويارک ټايمز دويم خبريال دی، چې په روان کال کې په افغانستان کې تښتول کېږي .
تر دې وړاندې د ډېوېډ رود په نامه خبريال له خپل افغان ملګري سره په پلازمېنه کابل کې تښتول شوی و .
که څه هم د کندوز چارواکو ويلي چې خبريال طالبانو تښتولی و، خو هغه وخت وسله والو طالبانو د خبريال د نادرکه کېدو په اړه بې خبري وښوده .
د چهاردرې ولسوال عبدالواحد عمرخېل هم منلې چې د نيويارک ټايمز برتانوي خبريال تېره شپه د يولړ عملياتو په ترڅ کې خوشی شوی دی .