Freed journalist ignored ‘very strong advice’

BRITISH foreign secretary David Miliband has acknowledged that freed Irish journalist Stephen Farrell had ignored “very strong advice” by travelling to the area of Afghanistan where he was kidnapped.

The operation to free the New York Times reporter left four people dead, including a British paratrooper.

Mr Farrell’s Afghan interpreter Sultan Munadi, and Corporal John Harrison, were killed in the pre-dawn raid on Wednesday.

Mr Miliband told the BBC: “He (Farrell) was obviously on the one hand very brave and on the other hand he went against very strong advice that it was extremely dangerous to be in that area.”

The mission to free Mr Farrell has reportedly provoked anger among senior army officers because he apparently ignored warnings from Afghan police and village elders not to venture into the Taliban-controlled area where he was taken hostage.

The journalist – who holds dual Irish and British nationality – was snatched with Mr Munadi last Saturday as he reported on the aftermath of a Nato air strike in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, in which at least 70 people were killed.

Mr Miliband said the military operation to free the journalist took place because there was no better alternative. He explained: “It only took place after very considered military judgment that it was a mission with the possibility of success.”


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