NATO forces in northern Afghanistan have rescued a New York Times reporter in a raid that left his Afghan interpreter, two civilians and a British soldier dead.
Reporter Stephen Farrell (a dual British-Irish citizen) and
the interpreter were kidnapped Saturday in Kunduz province while
reporting on the aftermath of a NATO air strike that killed a number of
Farrell was unhurt during the rescue early Wednesday, but the
interpreter, Sultan Munadi, was killed by gunfire along with one of the
commandos and the owners of the house where the hostages were held.
Farrell told The New York Times he did not know if the
shots that killed Munadi came from the Taliban captors or the rescuing
troops, who dropped onto the house from helicopters.
The U.N. Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, said he was
greatly saddened by Munadi's death and he urged authorities and
insurgents to respect the rights of journalists to do their work.
A NATO spokesman (Brigadier General Eric Tremblay) paid
tribute to the fallen soldier, saying his willingness to sacrifice his
own life to save another was a testament to his character, dedication
and absolute selflessness.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed
concern about growing criticism of the war effort in Afghanistan.
In remarks prepared for a ceremony in the United States Wednesday,
Rasmussen acknowledged that security progress has been slow. But he
insisted that extremists must not be allowed to operate in Afghanistan.
He also noted concerns about the legitimacy of the recent Afghan