Did Karzai's men kill a UN staff member?

15. April 2010, 23:45 Uhr

A member of the UN personnel, who died during the terrorist attack on the UN guesthouse in Kabul in October 2009, was apparently killed by the Afghan forces and not as initially reported by the terrorists, as stern.de has found out. By Giuseppe Di Grazia and Anuschka Tomat, New York

Kabul, Gästehaus, Afghanistan, Feuergefecht, UN-Gästehaus, UN,

A well remembered picture: An Afghan policeman carries a wounded victim of the attack on the UN guesthouse last Ocotber©

During a terrorist attack on the UN guesthouse in Kabul in October of 2009, one of the victims, a member of the UN personnel, was apparently killed by members of the Afghan forces and not as initially reported by the attackers. This is the preliminary finding of an investigation conducted by a United Nations commission and supported by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as stern.de has found out.

"The preliminary conclusions of the mission's investigation raised the disturbing possibility that a specific UN staff member may have died due to “friendly fire”, caused directly by responding Afghan security personnel", United Nations spokesman Farhan Haq told stern.de. "Once the BOI is finalized, we will share our findings with the Government of Afghanistan and if warranted we will ask for a thorough investigation surrounding the death of this UN employee and the circumstances of the deaths of the other UN employees."

The investigation so far has focused on the death of UN security officer Louis Maxwell. He was killed when three Islamic terrorists attacked the UN guesthouse on October 28, 2009. The Afghan government claimed that Maxwell had been shot by the terrorists or had died when the three terrorists detonated their explosives. Yet the preliminary results of the UN investigation suggest that Maxwell was killed after he had managed to escape onto the street - where he was shot, most likely by Afghan forces. Footage of an amateur video published by stern.de supports this claim.

United Nations instituted Board of Inquiry

The video, a copy of which was obtained by the UN, raised suspicions since the timing of the attack shortly before the scheduled second round of the presidential elections played in favour of President Hamid Karzai. Before the attack, the UN had demanded severe changes in the electoral process to prevent a second round of fraud. The attack rendered the UN in Kabul paralyzed.

According to UN spokesman Haq, the United Nations has followed due process in investigating an incident of this nature by instituting a Board of Inquiry after an initial fact-finding by staff in Kabul and New York. During that process the UN accordingly has been in contact with the responsible Afghan authorities in the course of its inquiries. Haq said, further actions will depend on further findings and he declined to comment any further. The United Nations has briefed the Maxwell family on the progress of its initial inquiries and is determined to support the family.

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