The death of [Sultan M] Munadi illustrated two grim truths of the war in Afghanistan: vastly more Afghans than foreigners have died battling the Taliban, and foreign journalists are only as good as the Afghan reporters who work with them.
Mr. Munadi, 34, the father of two boys, worked as an office manager and reporter in the Kabul bureau. He and other Afghan reporters who work with foreign journalists are vastly more than interpreters.
“The story calls him an ‘interpreter,’ which misleads the reader about what these great people do for us,” Barry Bearak, a Times correspondent who worked with Mr. Munadi in 2001 and 2002, said, referring to an article about Mr. Munadi’s death.
“They serve as our walking history books, political analysts,” he added, “managers of logistics, taking equal the risks without equal the glory or pay.”
Those who worked with him said his country’s turmoil did not dampen his spirit or limit his determination. During Taliban rule, he worked with the International Red Cross in his native Panjshir Valley, a mountainous area north of Kabul that was never ruled by the Taliban, even when they dominated the country from 1996 to 2001. [continued…]
I lay on the ground, gave my name and newspaper and pointed to where Sultan was lying behind me, telling them I thought he had been shot.
The body was lying motionless in the ditch where I had seen him go down. I hoped he had dropped and was lying still. I knew it wasn’t the case. They told me they had his picture and would look for him, then dragged me away past the house across a rutted field and toward the helicopter landing zone.
It was over. Sultan was dead. He had died trying to help me, right up to the very last seconds of his life. [continued…]
Hostage negotiators expressed shock and anger at Gordon Brown’s decision to approve a commando raid to free a kidnapped British journalist, saying that they were within days of securing his release through peaceful means.
Stephen Farrell — who was in Afghanistan for The New York Times — was not harmed in the raid but his Afghan translator, Sultan Munadi, and a British soldier from the Special Forces Support Group were killed. The men were being held at a house in Kharudi in northern Afghanistan. Just after midnight on Tuesday US helicopters dropped British special forces and Afghan troops in the village. Taleban militants fled the house and a fierce battle ensued. At least one civilian and scores of militants were killed. [continued…]