NATO Admits to Killing BBC Reporter by Mistake

A U.S. soldier mistook the stringer for a suicide bomber

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NATO put lingering uncertainty to rest today by admitting that a U.S. soldier had indeed killed BBC reporter Ahmed Omed Khpulwak (pictured above) in a case of "mistaken identity" as troops battled militants in Afghanistan's Uruzgan province in July. The alliance's report, which came in response to a BBC request for an investigation, explains that the soldier mistook the bearded, unarmed 25-year-old Pashto journalist for a suicide bomber "who was taking steps to detonate an IED that posed a lethal threat to numerous soldiers in the immediate area." Khpulwak, the report adds, had "something clinched in one of his fists" and was "reaching for something on his person with his other hand." The BBC reports that Khpulwak sent his brother two text messages during the firefight: "I am hiding. Death has come" and "Pray for me if I die."

While NATO officials met with Khpulwak's close relatives today to apologize today, it appears that some of his family members are still angry. "They thought he was a suicide bomber, but how?" Khpulwak's brother Jawid asked, according to The Guardian. "He spoke English and would have been showing his press card." Indeed, that might have been what Khpulwak was reaching for before he was shot 11 times. For more on the story, check out this BBC video interview with Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.