NATO has acknowledged that an Afghan journalist working for the BBC was accidentally killed by a U.S. soldier who mistook him for a suicide bomber.
In a statement released Thursday, NATO said the reporter was killed in a “case of mistaken identity” and expressed its condolences to his family.
Ahmed Omaid Khpulwak, who was known as Omaid, was at a television station in Uruzgan province when it was attacked by suicide bombers in late July. More than a dozen people were killed by the insurgents. The 25-year-old journalist was found in a bathroom — where he had apparently taken refuge from insurgents — with gunshot wounds.
The BBC requested an official inquiry.
In its statement, NATO said that when U.S. forces responded to the scene of the attack at the television station and an adjacent television compound, they were met with small-arms fire from insurgents, who later detonated their explosives.
When a soldier located Khpulwak, the reporter appeared to make a motion suggesting that he was about to detonate a suicide bomb. The soldier, who was not identified, shot him.
“The investigating officer found that the [NATO] member involved in this incident complied with the laws of armed conflict and rules of engagement and acted reasonably under the circumstances,” NATO said in a statement.
The BBC said it will be “studying the details of the findings and await receipt of the full report.” In a statement, the broadcaster added that it was “greatly indebted” to Khpulwak and “all his colleagues who have been killed whilst doing their job.”