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BBC reporter killed during Taliban attack in Uruzgan province

(IPI/IFEX) - VIENNA, 28 July 2011 - A reporter for the BBC World Service and Pajhwok Afghan News agency was killed in a bomb blast in Afghanistan today, for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility, according to the BBC and other international news reports.

Ahmed Omed Khpalwak, 25, had worked as a stringer for the BBC Pashto service since 2008 and had reported for the Pajhwok Afghan News agency since 2009, according to AFP and a report on Demotix.com.

"The sympathies of the BBC and all of his colleagues go to Ahmed Omed's family and friends. Only this morning he was reporting on BBC Pashto about another Taliban attack that happened last night. 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," Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News, was quoted by The Independent as saying.

Khpalwak was among at least 19 people who were killed in an attack in Uruzgan province involving multiple bombings and gunfire on the office of the deputy governor and a local militia that defends NATO convoys, according to reports.

According to AFP, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the blasts but said that police were responsible for killing the journalist. A policeman and ten children were among the dead, The Independent reported.

Khpalwak is the first journalist to be killed in Afghanistan this year, according to the IPI DeathWatch. Three journalists were killed in the country in 2010.
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