Murphy's Law: March 31, 2002


Journalists operating in Afghanistan have two major complaints. First, they have a hard time getting close to the action. Close behind that is the high degree of personal danger they most face; eight journalists have been killed in Afghanistan so far. Although the journalists do like to admit it, the two problems are closely linked. Most of the journalists killed so far have died while traveling in what were warned was hostile and dangerous territory. Most journalists have only a vague idea of how military operations really unfold. For example, four of the journalists were killed while riding on the outside of a Northern Alliance armored vehicle. Any professional soldier would have told you that traveling around like that was very dangerous. A similar ignorance was seen during Operation Anaconda (March, 2002.) Several vehicles loaded with journalists and camera equipment got past the military checkpoints and headed for the sound of bombing and gunfire. A few kilometers from the fighting, several Australian commandos stopped the convoy and ordered everyone out of their vehicles. The journalists were not happy, until the soldiers told them that their vehicles had been spotted from the air once they got into the restricted zone. At first, it was thought that the journalist's vehicles were Taliban rushing to reinforce the al Qaeda and Taliban fighters getting pounded. So the vehicles were targeted for a smart bomb attack. But at the last moment, the targeting people had second thoughts, noted that there were some Australian SAS commandos in the area, and asked the Aussies to take closer look before the convoy was attacked. 


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