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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Frage nicht, sage nicht (Don’t ask, don’t tell in German)

Posted by Thomas Nephew on December 20th, 2001

A German TV crew for WDR/ARD happened to be at Mazar-e-Sharif for an interview with Northern Alliance general Dostum when the prison uprising occurred. The chief correspondent, Arnim Stauth, lent his satellite phone to the CIA/special forces guy who was there (“David”) to call for help, and ultimately for air support.

According to a reliable fellow day-care parent source, WDR correspondent Arnim Stauth actually got criticized for this by fellow German journalists. Well, actually, not for doing it, more for admitting he’d done it: after some chin-pulling, it was apparently decided that the proper thing would have been to go ahead and do it, but just not reveal that. Not that there’s anything wrong with TRYING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE FROM A BUNCH OF SUICIDAL FANATICS. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any other information on-line about this “controversy.”

Mr. Stauth’s radio and TV reports all bear out the treachery of the Taliban/Al Qaeda prisoners, the chaotic situation inside the prison, and the desperate situation he, the American, and the Northern Alliance soldiers found themselves in, with gunfire interrupting the conversations with the WDR home office several times. (The web page headline translates to “..I can’t talk any more, we’re getting out of here.” A second headline reads “That was obviously a Taliban trap.”) At one point early on, the N.A. forces at the prison were actually running low on ammunition; many had returned to Kunduz, reported Stauth, to rejoin the celebration there.

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