AFGHAN MEDIA: U.S. TROOPS DELETED IMAGES
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan journalists covering the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack and shooting in eastern Afghanistan Sunday said U.S. troops deleted their photos and video and warned them not to publish or air any images of U.S. troops or a car where three Afghans were shot to death.
Afghan witnesses and gunshot victims said U.S. forces fired on civilians in cars and on foot along at least a six-mile stretch of road in Nangarhar province following a suicide attack against the Marine convoy. The U.S. military said militants also fired on American forces during the attack.
The U.S. military and Afghan officials said eight Afghans died and 34 were wounded in the violence. One Marine was also injured.
A freelance photographer working for The Associated Press and a cameraman working for AP Television News said a U.S. soldier deleted their photos and video showing a four-wheel drive vehicle in which three people were shot to death about 100 yards from the suicide bombing. The AP plans to lodge a protest with the American military.
The photographer, Rahmat Gul, said witnesses at the scene told him the three had been shot to death by U.S. forces fleeing the attack. The two AP freelancers arrived at the site about a half hour after the suicide bombing, Gul said.
“When I went near the four-wheel drive, I saw the Americans taking pictures of the same car, so I started taking pictures,” Gul said. “Two soldiers with a translator came and said, ‘Why are you taking pictures? You don’t have permission.'”
It wasn’t clear why the accredited journalists would need permission to take photos of a civilian car on a public highway.
Gul said the U.S. troops took his camera, deleted his photos and returned it to him. The journalists came across another American, showed their identification cards, and he agreed that they could take pictures.