The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan has admitted killing BBC reporter Ahmed Omed Khpulwak in July.
Khpulwak was one of 19 people killed when US-NATO forces battled insurgents in the town of Tarin Kowt in southern Uruzgan province, mistaking him for an Afghan fighter.
Unsurprisingly, initial reports claimed Khpulwak killed by the Taliban, but local reports and activists were consistent in their reporting that he was in fact a journalist and was killed by US troops.
NATO soldiers were responding to two suicide bombs when they noticed a man “with something clinched in one of his fists and reaching for something on his person with his other hand”.
The report said: “Based on the events of the preceding minutes the soldier assessed the actions as those of a suicide bomber who was taking steps to detonate an IED [improvised explosive device] that posed a lethal threat to numerous soldiers in the immediate area. He shot the individual with his M-4, killing him.”
The BBC’s David Loyn said Khpulwak was probably holding up his press card.
These “do or die” situations are often employed by those with the guns to justify killing people they preemptively view as a threat. Indeed, it is a tough call – one that wouldn’t have to be made is NATO simply left.