The New York Times
September 9, 2009, in an area near Kunduz, Afghanistan

Munadi and Times colleague Stephen Farrell were kidnapped by the Taliban on September 5. Munadi was shot four days later during a British military rescue mission that freed Farrell, a British-Irish national. Farrell told the Times he did not know the source of fire that killed the Afghan journalist. The Times reported that the British decision to attempt the rescue came after Afghan government agents learned that the captors were planning to move the journalists into Pakistan.

The two men were abducted while covering the aftermath of a NATO raid on two hijacked fuel tankers near Kunduz in which scores of Afghan civilians were reportedly killed. Munadi was a well-respected Afghan reporter who had just returned to the country for the presidential election held in August. He had been studying in Germany for a master's degree in public policy and had been a long-time reporter for the Times and other publications.

Farrell said the two were given food, water, and blankets, and were not harmed while they were being held. But he said that Munadi was taunted by the kidnappers, who told him to remember the case of Ajmal Naqshbandi, an Afghan reporter who was beheaded after being taken by the Taliban in Helmand province in 2007.

Munadi's remains were not recovered by the British rescue team. British military authorities released few details about the mission and did not respond to inquiries from CPJ seeking information about the circumstances of his death, whether his rescue was an objective of the mission, or whether the troops had sufficient information to identify him as one of the captives.

Anger among Afghan journalists rose in the days after Munadi's death. On September 13, many of his colleagues signed a letter calling on the Afghan government to undertake "serious and thorough investigations to identify the perpetrators of this inhumane act."

In November, CPJ called on British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to undertake a thorough investigation into the rescue mission, noting that many questions were left unanswered in the aftermath.

Job:Print Reporter
Beats Covered:Human Rights, War
Local or Foreign:Local
Type of Death:Dangerous Assignment
Suspected Source of Fire:Political Group


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