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U.S. soldiers deleted photos, video

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    Afghan journalists say U.S. soldiers deleted photos, video after bomb attack and shootings http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/world/BO45086/ KABUL, Afghanistan
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2007
      Afghan journalists say U.S. soldiers deleted photos, video after
      bomb attack and shootings

      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.

      A Western military official who asked not to be identified because
      he was not authorized to release the information said the troops
      were Marine Special Operations Forces, the Marine Corps component
      created in February 2006 of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

      "The same soldier who took my camera came again and deleted my
      photos," Gul said. "The soldier was very angry ... I told him, 'They
      gave us permission,' but he didn't listen."

      Gul's new photos were also deleted, and the American, speaking
      through a translator, warned him that he did not want to see any AP
      photos published anywhere. The American also raised his fist in
      anger as if he were going to hit him, but he did not strike, Gul

      Lt. Col. David Accetta, a U.S. military spokesman, said he did not
      have any confirmed reports that coalition forces "have been involved
      in confiscating cameras or deleting images."

      Khanwali Kamran, a reporter for the Afghan channel Ariana
      Television, was in a small group of journalists working alongside
      Gul. Kamran said the American soldiers also deleted his footage.

      "They warned me that if it is aired ... then, 'You will face
      problems,"' Kamran said.

      Taqiullah Taqi, a reporter for Afghanistan's largest television
      station, Tolo TV, said Americans were using abusive language.

      "According to the translator, they said, 'Delete them, or we will
      delete you,"' Taqi said.

      A freelance cameraman for AP Television News said that about 100
      yards from the bomb site, a U.S. officer told him that he could not
      go any closer to the scene but that he could shoot footage. The
      cameraman asked not to be named for his own safety.

      "Then I started filming the suicide attack site, where there was a
      body and U.S. soldiers, and farther away, there was a four-wheel
      drive vehicle in which three people were shot to death," he said.

      As he was filming, he said, a U.S. soldier and translator "ordered
      us not to move." The cameraman said they were very angry and deleted
      any footage that included the Americans, as well as part of an
      interview from a demonstration. Hundreds of Afghans had gathered to
      protest the violence.

      Reporters Without Borders condemned the actions of the U.S. forces,
      saying they dealt with the press poorly.

      "Why did the soldiers do it if they don't have anything to hide? The
      situation is very tense in Afghanistan, and the media should be able
      to report about it freely and safely," said Jean-Francois Julliard,
      a spokesman for the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.



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