Swedish journalist killed by armed robbers in Taloqan

New York, November 27, 2001—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague Ulf Strömberg, a cameraman for the Swedish channel TV4. He was murdered early this morning during a robbery at the house in Taloqan where he and several other journalists were staying.

At around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning, armed gunmen broke into the house and entered the room where two journalists from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet were sleeping. The intruders demanded money, which they were given, and also stole equipment including cameras, computers, and a satellite phone, according to Aftonbladet.

The robbers threatened to kill the two journalists—Martin Adler, a photographer, and Bo Liden, a correspondent—but left the room after an Afghan translator intervened on their behalf, according to a Reuters report. The gunmen then proceeded to the room Strömberg was sharing with his TV4 colleague Rolf Porseryd, a correspondent. Porseryd told reporters that Strömberg went to the door and slammed it shut when he saw the gunmen, who fired several shots before fleeing.

Strömberg, 42, was apparently hit in the chest by a bullet fired through the door. Though colleagues rushed him to a local hospital, his wounds were fatal.

“Immediate threats to war reporters include being targeted by armed factions, getting caught in the cross fire, or stepping on a land mine,” said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper. “Unfortunately, the dangers posed by anarchy and lawlessness in Afghanistan are just as worrisome.”

Journalists flee Afghanistan
Scores of foreign journalists had been based in Taloqan, but Reuters reported today that most planned to evacuate. A spokesperson for TV4 told CPJ that Porseryd and two other colleagues based in Kabul left Afghanistan today and would accompany Strömberg’s body to Sweden. Adler and Liden of Aftonbladet also left the country today.

Strömberg is the eighth journalist killed in Afghanistan since the beginning of the U.S. military campaign there [more]. This year, more journalists have been killed while reporting in Afghanistan than in any other country in the world.