Reporters on the Job

CROWDED IN KABUL: The Monitor's Scott Peterson says that Kabul is filling up with foreign journalists. One measure is the United Nations press briefing at the Hotel Intercontinental, given at noon and 6 p.m. over the past two days. "I haven't attended all of them, but every few hours, the pack gets bigger," he says. "It seems like they're coming in by the bus load now."

Yesterday, during the press conference announcing talks in Germany for a new Afghan government (page 1), more than 150 of his colleagues wedged themselves into a dining room at the hotel. "You couldn't hear anything in the back or even the middle of the room. I had to muscle my way to the front," Scott says.

THE REAL STORY: Today's story about a Protestant teenager in Belfast killed by a bomb (this page) is a tragic tale, says reporter Anne Cadwallader, made all the more sad by the misinformation she had to wade through. "It was doubly tragic because he was killed by a bomb built by his own side, but they refused to admit it. To create a hero, the Ulster loyalists said it wasn't their bomb, but rather one thrown by Catholics. He was simply in the process of throwing it back, they said. It was like a form of mass self-hypnosis," she says.

Police and other witnesses say that the Catholics were too far away to have thrown it. And 300 bombs, like the one that killed the boy, have been thrown by loyalists - not Catholics - in the past six months, she says.


FOUR JOURNALISTS KILLED: The deaths of four journalists in Afghanistan, as reported in yesterday's edition (Nov. 20), has shaken the foreign press corps staying in Jalalabad, says the Monitor's Scott Baldauf. A group of 40 anti-Taliban militia recovered their bodies yesterday morning by the road, about 35 miles from Kabul

"They didn't examine the crime scene. It was a very tense, quick recovery operation," says Scott. One of the drivers of the journalists says they were abducted and shot by a group of six Taliban gunmen. But a local anti-Taliban commander says they were probably just bandits.

"Some of the reporters here are bugging out tomorrow, going back to Pakistan. They're questioning whether the story is worth risking their lives for at this point," says Scott.

David Clark Scott

World editor

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