Admits Afghan 'Friendly Fire' May Have Killed US Staffer, US
Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive
NATIONS, April 15 -- The UN covered up
information that Afghan
national forces killed its staff member Louis Maxwell, and then
asked by Inner City Press, belatedly disclosed an FBI investigation
and said that "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" -- to another
media, not the one which
Management of information is one thing, but cover up and lies
April 14, based on a tip from a UN source in Afghanistan,
Inner City Press asked about the death of UN staff member Louis
Maxwell, a U.S. citizen, outside the UN's Kabul guesthouse on October
28, 2009. Given time to response, the UN send Inner City Press an
email that the case was
subject to a Board of Inquiry and FBI
investigation, and that therefore there would be no more comment.
April 15, Inner City Press asked again, including when the
Board of Inquiry began, and why the UN had not retracted Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon 2009 statements that the Taliban were responsible
for Louis Maxwell's murder. UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky told Inner
City Press to "be careful" what words it used, and later
said only that the Board of Inquiry began in January.
Nesirky's Associate Farhan Haq, however, issued a quote to
another media -- which had not asked any questions at the UN's noon
briefing -- that
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. 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 UN didn't disclose this "disturbing possibility" when
it became aware of it, and then refused to disclosed it to accredited
media which asked about it in open UN noon briefing sessions. This UN
goes lower and lower every day.
UN Photo of coffins of UN staff killed in Kabul,
disclosure not shown
City Press asked the US Mission to the UN
is a request for comment on newly emerged information about the death
in Afghanistan on October 28, 2009 of U.S. citizen Louis Maxwell.
the time, Ambassador Rice said
condemn in the strongest terms the brutal and cowardly attack in
Kabul today on United Nations workers and members of the Afghan
National Security Forces. An American citizen was among those who
lost their lives. My heartfelt condolences and sympathies go out to
the families and friends of all of the victims.
United Nations has been doing vital work for the Afghan people for
more than fifty years. The United States strongly supports the
leadership and staff of the United Nations Assistance Mission in
Afghanistan as they work bravely each day under incredibly difficult
circumstances, and we are grateful to the Afghan National Security
Forces for their commitment and sacrifice.
international community stands together in its commitment to defeat
those extremists seeking to halt democratic progress in Afghanistan.
The United States stands firmly with the people of Afghanistan as
they prepare for the November 7 presidential runoff elections.
after I asked a question at the noon briefing, the UN Spokesperson's
office sent me this
UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply
Wed, Apr 14, 2010 at 1:00 PM
Your questions on Louis Maxwell
Inner City Press
response on Louis Maxwell)
United Nations has followed due process in investigating the death of
staff in Afghanistan last October by instituting a Board of Inquiry
after an initial fact-finding by staff in Kabul and New York. The
United Nations has been in contact with the responsible Afghan
authorities in the course of its inquiries. The Board will submit its
report in due course. Further actions by the United Nations will
depend on its findings. The specific circumstances in which Louis
Maxwell died are currently being investigated and it would be
premature to comment further at this stage.
United Nations is also cooperating with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation in its inquiries into the incident. The United Nations
has briefed the Maxwell family on the progress of its initial
inquiries and is determined to support the family.
when did the US State Dept and, separately, Amb. Rice become aware of
a credible alternative factual explanation of the attack and death,
and of the US FBI's involvement in investigating this alternative
was Amb Rice's statement not amended at that time?
the statement going to be amended or supplemented now?
Mission to the UN declined to respond in writing, as part of a
telephone conversation the Spokesman of the US Mission, Mark
Kornblau, provide this on the record response:
the UN Spokesman noted yesterday, there are ongoing investigations by
the UN and FBI. It would be premature for us to comment at this
given the political situation between the Obama Administration and
Hamid Karzai, the disclosure of a the murder of a U.S. citizen by
Afghan national forces under Karzai's command would be inconvenient,
to say the least. Asked about this concern, the US Mission to the UN
had no on the record comment. Watch this site.
the UN and US State Department might want to start changing their
close to the chest communications strategy on this -- Inner City
Press' Kabul sources say that ABC News has a crew on the ground now
investigating Louis Maxwell's murder.
15 UN transcript:
City Press: After yesterday’s noon briefing, your office issued a
statement about the situation in Afghanistan -- the deaths of the UN
staff, including Louis Maxwell -- saying, among other things, that
“the United Nations is cooperating with the Federal Bureau of
Investigations (FBI) in its inquiries into this incident”. Because
at times there have been some issues around UN cooperation with
United States law enforcement, including in this building -- whether
they have jurisdiction to come into the building, whether evidence is
shared -- can you say when this cooperation began, of what it
consisted, and ultimately isn’t it the UN’s responsibility? Who
is leading the charge to find out who, in fact, killed these four UN
Nesirky: There is a Board of Inquiry, as I think you know. The
United Nations instituted this Board of Inquiry after initial
fact-finding by staff in Kabul and New York. The United Nations has
been in contact with the responsible Afghan authorities in the course
of its inquiries. The Board will submit its report in due course. Any
further actions by the United Nations will depend on the
findings, and it would be premature at this point to comment further.
City Press: Like you had said, “as you were aware”, but I was
not aware until yesterday afternoon that there was a Board of
That is why you were aware, because you were told yesterday
City Press: Sure. Mr. Ban said clearly at the stakeout that this
was an attack by the Taliban that had done it. Once the UN became
enough aware that they created this Board of Inquiry, was there any
thought given to saying “things are not as we first presented
them”? And secondarily, on these boards of inquiry, how many of
them are there? Are there just UN staff on it? Is it an outside
Board of Inquiry? How many, I mean…
There is a standard way to institute a board of inquiry, and I am
sure that you are familiar with that. You have been here far longer
than I have. The UN takes extremely seriously any incident which
results in the loss of life in whatever circumstances of a UN staff
member, and will investigate it thoroughly. And clearly the UN, as I
mentioned, has been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation in its inquiries into the incident. As we have also
mentioned -- and I think you need to take that into account, too --
the United Nations has been briefing the family of Mr. Maxwell on its
initial inquiries and will continue to support the family.
City Press: Thanks for saying that, but this Board of Inquiry, you
are saying, whenever staff are killed, the UN moves to this. Was
this Board of Inquiry set up at the time that these five staff
members were murdered? Or was it created at some later date, and
what triggered its creation?
Matthew, I should be very careful in the words that you are using.
There is a Board of Inquiry and there is an investigation going on
that involves the FBI. And the Afghan authorities are also
investigating this, and it is part of -- as I mentioned earlier in a
different context -- due process when you are investigating. Be very
careful what words you are using.
City Press: Is there any question… it is a question of who did the
There is an investigation going on.
City Press: Right. Is it a new investigation? This took place in
October and we are now in April. Has it been going on since October? I
will just leave it at that. When was the date that this Board of
Inquiry was instituted, since it is such a well known procedure how
these things are done? When was it done? When was this created?
I will let you know.
Spokesperson later added that, in January, the United Nations
established a high-level Board of Inquiry to establish the facts and
look for lessons learned.]
"Lessons learned," indeed. Watch this site.
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