NATO Blamed for Munandi’s Death

The soldier, whose name remains unknown, died in an operation to rescue Stephen Farrell, a New York Times correspondent.

Mr Farrell, 46, was unharmed in the rescue but his Afghan interpreter, Sultan Munadi, 34, was killed together with a woman and a child.

The death of a British paratrooper in a raid to free New York Times journalist Stephen Farrell kidnapped in Afghanistan has caused “resentment” in the Army after the reporter was accused of ignoring security advice by venturing into a Taliban stronghold.

One senior Army source told The Daily Telegraph: “When you look at the number of warnings this person had it makes you really wonder whether he was worth rescuing, whether it was worth the cost of a soldier’s life.

“In the future, special forces might think twice in a similar situation.”

Robin Horsfall, a former SAS officer, told Channel 4 News: “Some questions will be asked if a journalist has behaved in a reckless fashion and put them in this position. There’s going to be some resentment.”

Hugh McManners, a former special forces officer, said: “There is quite a heavy burden of responsibility that [Mr Farrell] should bear.”

The soldier who died was a member of 1st Bn The Parachute Regiment, serving with special forces. His family has been informed, reports.

In the meantime, local journalists laid flowers at the grave of reporter and translator Sultan Munadi on Thursday in Kabul. He died in a NATO raid Wednesday to free him and New York Times writer Stephen Farrell. Munadi was caught in crossfire but Farrell survived.

The reporters blamed international forces for launching a military operation without exhausting other channels, the USA Today reports.

The death of Mr. Munadi illustrated two grim truths of the war in Afghanistan: vastly more Afghans than foreigners have died battling the Taliban, and foreign journalists are only as good as the Afghan reporters who work with them.

“The story calls him an ‘interpreter,’ which misleads the reader about what these great people do for us,” Barry Bearak, a Times correspondent who worked with Mr. Munadi in 2001 and 2002, said, referring to an article about Mr. Munadi’s death.

“They serve as our walking history books, political analysts,” he added, “managers of logistics, taking equal the risks without equal the glory or pay.”

Those who worked with him said his country’s turmoil did not dampen his spirit or limit his determination. During Taliban rule, he worked with the International Red Cross in his native Panjshir Valley, a mountainous area north of Kabul that was never ruled by the Taliban, even when they dominated the country from 1996 to 2001, the New York Times reports.

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