Thursday 18 January 2018

Call for new Afghan policy as three soldiers killed

Afghan policemen are seen at a checkpoint tower, where a man shot and killed three British soldiers, in Helmand. Photo: Reuters
Afghan policemen are seen at a checkpoint tower, where a man shot and killed three British soldiers, in Helmand. Photo: Reuters

Ben Farmer and Thomas Harding in Afghanistan

THREE British soldiers have been shot dead by an Afghan policeman at a checkpoint in Helmand province, the latest incident of its kind which has provoked calls from senior officers for a reappraisal of how troops work with local forces.

The murders, which took place on Sunday, mean that this year a quarter of all British troops killed in Afghanistan have died at the hands of their Afghan allies.

The policeman opened fire after a heated argument with the British servicemen, according to witnesses, before he was shot and captured. A fourth British soldier was wounded but is thought to be stable.

Senior officers said yesterday that a "cocked and locked" policy -- as used by US forces -- should be implemented.

"We should be looking at adopting the American policy of having a soldier permanently on overwatch during any meeting with Afghan security forces, with his weapon cocked and locked," one officer said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to the soldiers. "I am deeply saddened by the appaling news that three British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan. My heart goes out to their families," he said.

"The suspected perpetrator is in custody and we will do everything, with the Afghan National Security Forces, to ensure that justice is done."

The dead soldiers were members of an advisory team training the Afghan police and had visited the checkpoint to conduct a meeting.

"On leaving, they were engaged by small arms fire by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform," the Ministry of Defence said.

"During this exchange of fire the three soldiers were wounded and, despite receiving first aid at the scene, they died of their injuries." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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