Khpalwak, 25, a BBC and
Pajhwok Afghan News reporter, was
among at least 22 people killed after gunmen and suicide bombers launched a
combined attack on government buildings including the governor’s office and
police headquarters in Tarin Kot, capital of Uruzgan province, local and
international news reports said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the series of
explosions and subsequent gun battle with Afghan and NATO security forces, the
reports said. News reports said Khpalwak was killed in crossfire after the
initial bomb blasts.
Khpalwak was in the local branch office of state
broadcaster Radio and Television of Afghanistan when the attack began,
according to Danish Karokhel, the director of Pajhwok. Khpalwak, who had office
space in the building, was filing his morning report at the time.
In a statement released on September 8, 2011, the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan said one of its
soldiers had shot Khpalwak because he thought he was an armed insurgent
reaching for a bomb under his vest. “He was unarmed; no weapon was found
nearby. It appears all the rounds perceived as coming from him were instead
fired by U.S.
soldiers,” the ISAF statement said. Investigators concluded troops may have
mistaken a press card Khpalwak was holding up as identification for a
The BBC reported that Khpalwak sent his brother two text
messages shortly before his death. The first read: “I am hiding. Death has
come.” In the second, he wrote: “Pray for me if I die.”