Afghan ‘policeman’ kills 3 British soldiers at checkpoint
THREE British soldiers have been killed by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform who shot them at a checkpoint, in what has been condemned by the Defence Secretary as a “cowardly act”.
The men, members of an Afghan Police Advisory Team, were leaving a shura – or meeting of elders – at Checkpoint Kamparack Pul in Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand province, when they were shot on Sunday.
Two of the men were serving with the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and the other was serving with the Royal Corps of Signals. Their next of kin have been informed.
The gunman had been wearing an Afghan National Civil Order Police uniform, the International Security Assistance Force said.
An investigation into the incident, the latest so-called “green on blue” attack in which members of the Afghan security or police forces have opened fire on international allies, has been launched.
Four other British soldiers have died in similar circumstances this year.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Every day, tens of thousands of coalition forces, including UK personnel, live and work successfully with their Afghan counterparts in order to build an Afghan police force and army which can take the lead for their own security by the end of 2014.
“That process will continue, and though deeply tragic, yesterday’s incident and attacks like it will not derail the mission or distract us from the task in hand.
“An investigation is now under way; we are determined to get to the bottom of exactly what happened yesterday at Checkpoint Kamparack Pul, and to pursue those responsible.”
Major Ian Lawrence, spokesman for Task Force Helmand, said: “Their loss will be felt deeply across the task force.
“However, this will be nothing compared to the grief experienced by the soldiers’ families. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this extremely difficult time.”
The deaths bring to 422 the total number of members of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001.
In May, Lance Corporal Lee Thomas Davies, 27, from the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, and Corporal Brent John McCarthy, 25, of the RAF, were shot dead by members of the Afghan police.
Two months previously, Sergeant Luke Taylor, 33, of the Royal Marines, and Lance Corporal Michael Foley, 25, of the Adjutant General’s Corps, were shot dead by a rogue Afghan soldier at the entrance to the UK headquarters in Lashkar Gar.
In November 2009, five British soldiers were killed by a rogue Afghan policeman.
Sunday’s shootings happened on the day Afghan National Security Forces took the lead in southern Afghanistan. In a ceremony at Camp Hero in Kandahar province, the International Security Assistance Force handed over responsibility to the body.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I am deeply saddened by the appalling news that three British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to their families.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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