MoD names UK soldiers killed in US 'friendly fire'
THREE British soldiers killed after a US fighter aircraft dropped a bomb on them as they battled insurgents in southern Afghanistan were named by the Ministry of Defence last night.
Privates Aaron James McClure, Robert Graham Foster and John Thrumble, from 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, died in a 'friendly fire' incident as they patrolled an area northwest of Kajaki, Helmand province, last Thursday evening.
Two US F15s were called in to help when their unit came under attack from Taliban fighters. One of the aircraft launched a bomb at around 6.30pm local time, which apparently exploded, killing the three soldiers and wounding two others.
Coalition forces last night defended their reliance on air power in Afghanistan
, amid growing concerns by Afghan authorities about civilian deaths from US air strikes in the country.
Colonel Martin Schelleis, chief spokesman of Nato's 37-nation-strong mission in the country, said air strikes were essential to the mission, given the limited number of ground troops and rugged terrain.
"You cannot do it all with ground troops," he told a media conference. He said: "If a ground unit cannot defeat an attack, they regularly call for air support because of its inherent strength. Air support is an integral part of the operation."
Schelleis said the investigation into the incident would take "considerable time".
British defence secretary Des Browne declined to speculate on the cause of the friendly fire, but said yesterday that he did not want "to get into a situation where we are blaming each other".
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed two Afghans guarding a convoy carrying supplies for Nato-led forces yesterday.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east