Reporters seriously injured by roadside bomb

Two Associated Press journalists travelling with a US military convoy in southern Afghanistan have been wounded by a roadside bomb. Photographer Emilio Morenatti (photo) lost a foot, while videographer Andi Jamtiko suffered leg and rib injuries.


AFP - Two journalists from US news agency Associated Press have been seriously wounded in a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan, with one losing a foot, the media group and military said Wednesday.

The Spanish photographer and Indonesian videographer were in a military vehicle that was hit by a roadside bomb on Tuesday in Kandahar province, one of the main battlefields in the US and NATO-led battle against the Taliban.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said some of the US soldiers travelling with the pair were also wounded by the improvised explosive device (IED) but it could not immediately provide details.

"There was an IED strike on a military vehicle that resulted in injuries to two AP reporters," ISAF spokesman in southern Afghanistan, Captain Glen Parents, told AFP. "The reporters were evacuated and treated by ISAF forces."

The agency identified the photographer as award-winning Emilio Morenatti, 40, from Spain. He was badly wounded in the leg and underwent an operation that resulted in the loss of his foot.

The videographer was Andi Jatmiko, 44, from Indonesia, who suffered leg injuries and two broken ribs, it added.

AP President Tom Curley said the agency had not suffered such serious casualties for some time.

"In that welcome quiet, we sometimes lose sight of the risks that journalists like Emilio and Andi encounter every day as they staff the frontlines of the most dangerous spots of the world," he said.

The 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan ousted the extremist Taliban from government but the movement is now fighting re-establish control.

The insurgents have stepped up their use of roadside bombs to counter military offensives.

The bombs are most often directed at security forces, accounting for most of their casualties which reached a record level last month with 76 dead. But the devices kill more civilians than soldiers.

The journalists were in a convoy of soldiers from the newly deployed Stryker Brigade, part of US President Barack Obama's pledge to commit 21,000 more soldiers and military trainers to beat back the insurgency.

The units had deployed into the southern Kandahar and Zabul provinces last week to increase security working along with the Afghan forces ahead of presidential and provincial council elections on August 20, the ISAF spokesman said.

Afghan officials say at least nine districts are still under insurgent control which would make voting unlikely. Security operations were under way in around three dozen to secure them for the elections, they have said.

"ISAF acknowledges the work that reporters do alongside us," Parents said. "Those reporters share the same risks that our soldiers do and our thoughts and prayers are with the two injured reporters and their families."

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