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 bomb trigger.
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."