NY Times reporter freed as situation worsened

Last Updated: Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 09:46

New York: A New York Times reporter taken hostage in Afghanistan and rescued by British commandos told his editors that the situation in the Taliban hide-out where he was held had been growing more ominous.
Stephen Farrell and his translator were taken hostage on Saturday in the northern province of Kunduz when they went to cover a German-ordered airstrike of two hijacked fuel tankers.

The bombing, carried out by US jets, caused a number of civilian casualties.

British commandos carried out a raid to free him early yesterday, the translator and a British commando were killed.

Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said he had understood from the military that they did not intend to conduct a raid unless the situation turned "particularly menacing, and they
had actionable intelligence and a high probability of success."

Keller said he doesn`t know what triggered the decision to carry out the raid, but that Farrell told him the situation had been growing worse.

"It`s entirely possible that the Allied forces picked up on a plan either to move the hostages or to do something with them," Keller said yesterday.

The translator, Sultan Munadi was killed in the firefight, said a spokesman for the Kunduz Governor. A British defence official said he couldn`t rule out the possibility Munadi, 34, was killed by British gunfire.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, September 10, 2009 - 09:46

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