Afghan group condemns 'double standard' in commando strike
The media group blames British soldiers in a raid that rescued New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell and killed assistant Sultan Munadi.
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A group of Afghan journalists has blasted the British commando raid that rescued New York Times reporter Stephen Farrell and killed Afghan interpreter Sultan Munadi and a British soldier, blaming the troops for Mr. Munadi's death.
The group, called the Media Club of Afghanistan, condemned the troops for exercising a "double standard" by rescuing Mr. Farrell and retrieving the body of the British soldier killed in the operation but leaving Munadi's body, reports the Associated Press. The group called the action "inhumane." The two reporters had entered Kunduz in northern Afghanistan to report about a NATO bombing that had reportedly killed civilians, despite warnings that the area was unsafe.
Munadi's body was later retrieved after negotiations with village elders, and reporters from the Media Club Thursday laid flowers at his grave in Kabul.
Fazul Rahim, an Afghan producer for CBS News who was involved in drafting the journalists' statement, said the troops' leaving the body showed a lack of respect.
"It shows a double standard between a foreign life and an Afghan life," he said.
The group said it held NATO responsible for launching the mission before exhausting other options. That criticism has surfaced in London, as well, where some Western officials told The Times of London that British forces acted too hastily going in to rescue the journalists. Negotiations had begun within 24 hours of the kidnapping and nearly 300 local elders were already speaking with the kidnappers, trying to persuade them that Farrell and his interpreter were just two reporters doing their job, the newspaper reports.
"It was totally heavy-handed. If they'd showed a bit of patience and respect they could have got both of them out without firing a bullet. Instead, they ended up having one of their own killed, the Afghan killed and civilians killed. There's a lot of
[angry] people at the moment," [said a Western official involved in the situation].