On September 5, the Taliban, with support from Pakistani forces, initiated an attack on the Panjshir area of Afghanistan in which Fahim Dashty, spokesperson, National Resistance Front (NRF), was killed. The top commander of the front, General Sahib Abdul Wadood, was also killed in the attack. It is being seen as a major blow to the NRF chief Ahmed Masood as both of them were close and trusted to him. There are speculations making rounds on social media platforms that Fahim’s location may have been leaked due to a mistake of BBC.
People are blaming the BBC for leaking the satellite number of Fahim, which could have been traced by the Taliban, resulting in the drone attack on Panjshir. As per reports, Fahim was giving an interview to the BBC when the screen suddenly stopped showing the video on Fahim and flashed a satellite number which is believed to be of Fahim’s. Zalmai Nishat, a policy expert, tweeted that while he was watching Fahim’s interview on BBC Persia, the connection was cut, and his satellite mobile number was flashed on the screen.
I was watching an interview of @FahimDashty with @bbcpersian. At one point the former’s video disappeared. Instead, his satellite phone number was displayed on the screen. The BCC failed to ensure its anonymity. There are allegations that a drone traced has him via this number: pic.twitter.com/oI7mANuVuP— Zalmai Nishat (@ZalNishat) September 5, 2021
Institute for World Affairs & Security said, “Fahim Dashty was interviewed by BBC. Network issue led to loss of connection, Fahim’s satellite phone number appeared on screen. Did the drone that killed him trace him using this no.? Is BBC responsible? Fahim-Afghan journalist fighting for his home against Taliban in Panjshir.”
Fahim Dashty was interviewed by BBC. Network issue led to loss of connection, Fahim’s satellite phone number appeared on screen. Did the drone that killed him trace him using this no.? Is @BBC responsible?— IWAS Institute for World Affairs & Security (@IWASInstitute) September 6, 2021
Fahim-Afghan journalist fighting for his home against Taliban in Panjshir pic.twitter.com/PYtyhPWqh7
It is being alleged that the number was used to trace Fahim leading to the deadly attack. People are blaming BBC for the mistake and Fahim’s death.
Notably, Fahim had said during the interview that NRF had no intentions to form a government with the Taliban. He made it clear that NRF fighters would lay down their lives for the future of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, people are angry on BBC. A Twitter user, Sumi wrote, “This is a serious war crime, and the BBC should be charged for this.” Another user Allabtme alleged that BBC deliberately did this.
Panjshir is facing a tense situation due to the ongoing war between the Taliban and NRF. While the Taliban has claimed that Panjshir has fallen, NRF denied the claims and said its fighters are stationed at every strategic place in the region.
The BBC has issued a statement over the matter. In its statement, the BBC said, “There are false allegations that the BBC broadcast a number which identified the location of Fahim Dashty during a live interview. This is not true. His interview was conducted via zoom and connected to the studio through a BBC satellite.”
“We take the safety of our contributors very seriously,” it added.