Sutton, a reporter for Radio France Internationale; Billaud, a reporter
for Radio Télévision Luxembourg; and Handloik, a freelance reporter on
assignment for the German news magazine Stern, were killed on the evening of November 11 when Taliban forces fired on a Northern Alliance military convoy.
The reporters were among a group of six journalists who were riding
with Northern Alliance soldiers in an armored personnel carrier (APC).
The soldiers were advancing toward Taliban positions near the city of
Taloqan, the capital of Takhar Province and the alliance’s former
Taliban forces opened fire on the convoy and hit the APC carrying the
journalists with a rocket-propelled grenade. The jolt from the
grenade’s impact caused some people to fall off the tank while others
may have jumped off. It was unclear whether the journalists who died
were killed in the cross fire, or whether Taliban soldiers later
executed at least two of them.
Three journalists survived the attack: Paul McGeough, a reporter for the Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald; Véronique Rebeyrotte, a reporter for France Culture radio; and Levon Sevunts, a reporter for the Montreal Gazette.