BBC Journalist Killed by NATO, Not Insurgents, in Afghanistan

September 8, 2011 Updated: September 8, 2011

A journalist with the BBC was accidentally killed by U.S. forces that were responding to a militant attack in Afghanistan, according to report released Thursday.

Ahmad Omid Khpalwak “was killed in a case of mistaken identity” during the incident, according to a statement from NATO.

The service member who shot him “believed he was an insurgent that posed a threat and was about to detonate a suicide vest improvised explosive device (IED),” it added. 

An investigation into the matter found that the soldier acted in accordance with “the laws of armed conflict,” said the report.

The BBC said their reporter was killed when coalition forces were sent to the offices of Radio Television Afghanistan after two suicide bombings in June.

“It is essential that journalists are given the best possible protection whilst reporting in dangerous situations so that the world can hear their stories,” said BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks in a statement.

The soldier who shot Khpalwak thought the reporter was readying to detonate a bomb, which would have possibly killed a number of soldiers nearby, said the news agency. In the assault, a total of 19 people were killed, including Khpalwak.

Earlier reports had said that Khpalwak was killed by insurgents.