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2 U.S. Film Makers Die in Afghanistan : Government Troops Ambush Rebels, Crew Making Documentary

October 27, 1987|Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Two Americans making a documentary in Afghanistan died and a guerrilla guide was wounded when government soldiers ambushed them west of Kabul, U.S. and guerrilla spokesmen said today.

American diplomats in Pakistan identified the Americans as Lee Shapiro, a New York City man in his late 30s and director of New Jersey-based Shapiro Media Productions, and James Lindelof, a 27-year-old sound and camera man from California.

Diplomatic and guerrilla sources said a third American was believed to have been with them, but Ellen Hori, an employee at the company in North Bergen, N.J., said she was not aware of a third American traveling with the film crew.

Qaribar Rehman Saeed, a spokesman for the Hezb-i-Islami guerrillas, said the group got word of the Americans' death in a rare radio report from Muslim insurgents near Kabul.

Scene of Clashes

He said Hezb-i-Islami fighters had led the film team for five months through Afghanistan's northern provinces.

Saeed said the ambush occurred near Paghman, a town west of Kabul which was the scene this summer of constant clashes between insurgents and Soviet-Afghan forces. He said the radio report placed the attack around Oct. 11.

The Americans' bodies were in Afghanistan, but it was not clear where, the diplomats said. There was no word on any arrangements to return them to the United States.

Some Peshawar residents said they saw Shapiro in late August, apparently returning from the United States after raising money for his film. One source said the Unification Church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon was the main sponsor.

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