IFJ Mourns BBC Journalist Killed by Nato Forces in Afghanistan

The International Federation

of Journalists (IFJ) today said that the killing of BBC reporter Ahmed Omed

Khpulwak, who was shot dead by a member of Nato-led International Security

Assistance Force (Isaf) in Afghanistan, is a reminder of the risks to

journalists who are working in conflict zones. Isaf has admitted that the

journalist was killed in July by a US soldier who mistook him for an insurgent

during a firefight at the Afghan Radio Television (RTA).

"We note Isaf's admission but urge

all sides to the conflict to ensure that media facilities are not turned into

combat zones," said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "This tragic incident must be

properly assessed to serve a lesson for future interventions on premises where

journalists and media staff work."

In a statement, Isaf said Omed

of the BBC Pashto service was shot by a soldier who feared he was an insurgent

about to set off a device. The shooting occurred as soldiers were clearing the

RTA building of militants, two of whom had detonated bombs injuring soldiers.

According to some reports, the journalist was attempting to produce his press card when

he was killed.

The BBC reacted to the

admission, recognising that "Isaf had provided clarification, ending a

period of uncertainty, but it would study the details of the findings on

receiving the full report."

The IFJ says that this latest

deadly incident shows the urgency in finding ways to provide journalists with

adequate protection. The Federation plans to push for concrete measures and

governments' commitment to protecting media during the forthcoming United Nations Inter-AgencyMeeting on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity which will take place next week in Paris.

"The death of Omed in such

violent circumstances is one too many and we must resolve to act in the defence of journalists' safety with

more vigour and purpose than ever

before," added Beth Costa, IFJ General Secretary.

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235

22 07

The IFJ represents more than

600.000 journalists in 131 countries