Nato Frees Kidnapped New York Times Reporter In Afghanistan

09.09.09 | FL News Team

A British "New York Times" journalist being held by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan was freed early today by NATO forces in a pre-dawn raid. Stephen Farrell was in the Kunduz province Saturday for a story on last week's NATO airstrike that killed scores of Afghan civilians when he and his Afghan interpreter were kidnapped by Taliban militants. A resident of the Kunduz province said Taliban fighters came to his house with the two captives Tuesday night demanding shelter. He said NATO commandos arrived by helicopter in the night and rescued Farrell. Interpreter Mohammad Sultan Munadi, a British soldier and at at least one Afghan civilian were all killed in the raid.

 

In a statement published on the "New York Times" website, Farrell says he and Munadi ran outside and shouted the word "journalist" repeatedly when the raid started. He recalls, quote, "There were bullets all around us. I could hear British and Afghan voices." That's when Munadi was shot. On the website, he says, quote, "He was lying in the same position as he fell. That's all I know. I saw him go down in front of me. He did not move." Farrell isn't sure whether Munadi was shot by the insurgents or the NATO commandos.

 

"New York Times" Executive Editor Bill Keller said, quote, "We're overjoyed that Steve is free, but deeply saddened that his freedom came at such a cost." Farrell was the second "New York Times" journalist to be captured in Afghanistan in less than a year. Reporter David Rohde was kidnapped in late 2008 and held for seven months. He reportedly managed to escape in June.