Pajhwok Afghan News

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The international community, deep in donor fatigue, withdraws media funding. By Bob Dietz

(AFP/Oliver Lang)

Time to reassess U.S. military counterinsurgency tactics

A memorial for Afghan journalist Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak in Kabul. (AFP/Shah Marai)

One year ago, on July 28, 2011, Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak, 25, was killed by American troops during a brutal close-quarters battle with a Taliban suicide squad backed by gunmen. Khpalwak was one of 22 people killed in the hours-long siege on government buildings that included the governor's office and police headquarters in Tarin Kot, capital of Uruzgan province. A reporter for the BBC, Pajhwok Afghan News, and several other organizations, Khpalwak died with 11 bullet wounds in his body. He was shot in a government-run newsroom while waving his press card and declaring in English that he was a journalist. It's fair to ask, one year after Khpalwak died, if any lessons have been learned. The odds that a journalist could be killed by U.S. forces' fire seem, unfortunately, to be as high as ever.

Danish Karokhel (AP/Stuart Ramson)

Danish Karokhel, who won a CPJ International Press Freedom Award in 2008, messaged this morning concerned that the news agency he runs, Pajhwok Afghan News, and some other media outlets have been referred to the Attorney General's Office by the Ministry of Information and Culture for reporting on an alleged bribery scandal involving a member of Parliament. The action was taken by the ministry's Media Monitoring Commission, and could lead to criminal charges.

Wednesday, the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) released its report, "Death of an Uruzgan Journalist: Command Errors and Collateral Damage," by Kate Clark on the July 2011 shooting death of journalist Omaid Khpalwak. Clark's details on how Khpalwak died corroborate and then go beyond the investigation already conducted by the U.S.-led NATO forces who were responsible. Her report was important to write, and is important to read.

New York, February 23, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Afghan authorities to thoroughly investigate the murder of radio journalist Samid Khan Bahadarzai and swiftly bring the perpetrators to justice.

(AFP)
New York, September 8, 2011--The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said today that one of its soldiers was responsible for the July 28 death of a local journalist working for the BBC Afghanistan service and the Pajhwok Afghan News agency. The ISAF soldier, an American, told authorities that he thought Ahmed Omaid Khpalwak was an insurgent reaching for a bomb under his vest, and shot him dead, an ISAF statement said.

Khpalwak, 25, died in violence between insurgents and security forces when gunmen and suicide bombers targeted the governor's office and police headquarters in Tarin Kot, capital of Uruzgan province in central Afghanistan.

Khpalwak covered more than just war and instability--he captured everyday life in Afghanistan. (Khpalwak)

Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak covered violent news. His last two stories for Pajhwok Afghan News, before he died on July 28 in a major attack in Tarin Kot, capital of Uruzgan province, were about an attack on police checkpoints in which both Taliban and police were killed, and an interview with a would-be suicide bomber. Few of his 24 years of life saw any kind of peace in Afghanistan. 

New York, July 28, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the death of Ahmad Omaid Khpalwak, a BBC and Pajhwok Afghan News reporter, in violence between insurgents and security forces in central Afghanistan today.

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