Afghan Reporters Slam NATO for Colleague's Death

Afghan journalists blamed international troops Thursday for the death of a kidnapped colleague during a rescue operation and said British commandos showed a "double standard" by leaving his body while retrieving a foreign New York Times writer.

The newly formed Media Club of Afghanistan — a group of Afghan reporters who work with international news outlets — also condemned the Taliban for abducting both men last week in northern Afghanistan as they investigated reports of civilian deaths in a German-ordered airstrike.

Local journalists laid flowers Thursday at the grave of reporter and translator Sultan Munadi in Kabul. Munadi, 34, was killed by gunfire during a British commando raid Wednesday to free him and New York Times writer Stephen Farrell.

Munadi was shot during the raid, but Farrell survived and was taken away in a helicopter. One British commando was killed in the raid.

At Thursday's ceremony, the group issued a statement holding international forces responsible for launching a military operation to free the journalists without exhausting nonviolent channels.

The statement also said it was "inhumane" for the British forces to rescue Farrell, who has dual British-Irish nationality, and also retrieve the body of the commando killed in the raid while leaving behind Munadi's body.

Fazul Rahim, an Afghan producer for CBS News, said the foreign forces' actions showed a lack of respect.

"It shows a double standard between a foreign life and an Afghan life," he said.

Munadi's body was retrieved Wednesday afternoon through intermediaries and brought to Kabul.

Col. Wayne Shanks, a U.S. and NATO spokesman, called the deaths during the rescue operation "tragic" but said he did not want to assign blame.

"It's unfortunate that this whole situation occurred, that the journalists were kidnapped," he said, adding, "I don't think that during the middle of a firefight anyone can blame someone for what they did or did not do."