Nato troops free abducted UK scribe

British reporter Stephen Farrell and his Afghan colleague Mohammad Sultan Munadi had been abducted while attempting to visit the scene of a Nato airstrike that killed scores of Afghans in the north of the country.In an account published on the newspaper’s website, Farrell said he was freed by commandos during the raid, but Munadi had been shot dead in front of him while they tried to run to safety.

“We were all in a room, the Talibs all ran, it was obviously a raid,” Farrell said.
“Two men ran outside. There were bullets all around us. I could hear British and Afghan voices,” he said.

Farrell said Munadi went forward, shouting: “Journalist! Journalist!” but dropped in a burst of gunfire. Farrell did not know whether the shots came from insurgents or the rescuers.
“He was lying in the same position as he fell. That is all I know. I saw him go down in front of me. He did not move. He is dead. He was so close, he was just two feet in front of me when he dropped.”

Bill Keller, executive editor of The Times, said: “We are overjoyed that Steve is free, but deeply saddened that his freedom came at such a cost. We are doing all we can to learn the details of what happened. Our hearts go out to Sultan’s family.”

Abdul Waheed Omarkheil, district chief of Char Dara district in Kunduz province, said an Afghan woman was also killed during the raid in the house where the two men were being held. The district was the site of last week’s Nato airstrike, called in by the German forces, which killed scores of Afghans. Farrell and Munadi had gone to the area to report on the incident, in which the Nato acknowledges civilians were killed.

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