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NATO: US soldier killed BBC reporter mistaken for suicide bomber

NATO-led forces confirm that an American soldier killed a BBC reporter last July in southern Afghanistan after being mistaken for suicide bomber.
/ Source:

NATO-led forces confirmed on Thursday that an American soldier killed a BBC reporter last July in southern Afghanistan after mistaking him for a suicide bomber.

Ahmed Omid Khpulwak died during an insurgent raid in the Uruzgan province city of Tarin Kowst on July 28, according to NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

"Mr. Khpalwak was shot by an ISAF member who believed he was an insurgent that posed a threat and was about to detonate a suicide vest improvised explosive device (IED)," according to a statement by the NATO-led force.

"The investigating officer found that the ISAF member involved in this incident complied with the laws of armed conflict and rules of engagement and acted reasonably under the circumstances."

The Taliban readily admitted causing the series of suicide blasts but denied killing Khpulwak, accusing government forces of shooting him, , the BBC reported.

The journalist was among 19 to die in the violence, according to media reports.

During the raid, Khpulwak. who was holed up in the bathroom, reportedly texted his brother twice, the BBC reported. The first read: "I am hiding. Death has come." In the second, he wrote: "Pray for me if I die."

"(The report) said he appeared to be holding up something that US troops may have thought was a trigger for a suicide bomb but concluded it may have been his press card," the BBC reported.

Khpulwak, who also worked for the Pajwak Afghan news agency, joined the BBC in 2008, according to the BBC.