LONDON – An explosion outside a village in southern Afghanistan killed a U.S. Marine and a veteran war correspondent who became the first British journalist killed in the conflict, officials said.
With the death of Sunday Mirror journalist Rupert Hamer, 18 reporters have been killed in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to figures kept by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
“Tragically, it was a matter of time,” former British forces commander Col. Richard Kemp told Sky News television. “Our journalists, the same as other journalists, our British journalists deploying on operations with forces in Afghanistan or Iraq face exactly the same risks as our soldiers face out there.”
Hamer, 39, and photographer Philip Coburn, 43, were accompanying a U.S. Marine patrol Saturday when their vehicle was hit by a makeshift bomb near the village of Nawa in Helmand, the Defense Ministry said.
A U.S. Marine was also killed in the blast, the ministry said. Coburn was seriously wounded in the explosion but remains in stable condition, the military said.
The Defense Ministry originally said that an Afghan soldier had been killed in the attack, but it later released a revised statement saying that “there were no Afghan nationals killed or injured in this incident.”