Conflict & Justice

BBC journalist among 19 killed in Afghan attacks

A freelance journalist working for the BBC is among at least 19 people killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack in the southern province of Uruzgan

A coordinated attack by gunmen and three suicide bombers targeted official buildings and a military base in the city of Trinkot in what is the worst attack in the country in over a month.

A commander at that base provides security to NATO convoys, according to the AFP.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, but blamed police for the journalist's death. A spokesman for the provincial governor said the death toll could rise as fighting continued in the area Thursday. 

The BBC issued a statement Thursday announcing the death of its stringer Ahmed Omed Khpulwak and extending its condolences to his family and friends. It said it would continue to seek further information regarding the death.

That statement continues:

For the past three years he has been constantly reporting from a very difficult part of Afghanistan. The BBC and the whole world are grateful to journalists like Ahmed Omed who courageously put their lives on the line to report from dangerous places.

The news organization said that with an audience share of 40 per cent of the Afghan population, it is "by far the most trusted international news provider" in the country.

According to figures compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists before Khpulwak's death, 22 journalists were killed so far in 2011.

The latest attack comes days after a suicide bomber killed the mayor of Kandahar and just two weeks after the murder of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's half-brother. 

Foreign forces are preparing to pull their soldiers out of Afghanistan and all such troops are due leave the country by the end of 2014.

(Read more Global Post coverage of Afghanistan: Mayhem in Kabul)