Afghan policeman kills five UK soldiers
Updated on 04 November 2009
Three Grenadier Guards and two members of the Royal Military Police are shot dead by a rogue Afghan policeman who turned his gun on them at a checkpoint, bringing to 92 the number of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan in 2009.
A manhunt has been launched for the killer, who may have links to the Taliban, according to reports.
The British soldiers were living and working at the checkpoint as part of a team mentoring the Afghan National Police (ANP).
One of the Afghan policemen apparently fired without warning before anyone could respond, then fled the scene.
Sources named the attacker as a man called Gulbuddin and suggested he was connected to the Taliban.
A UK military spokesman said: "It's our understanding that one individual Afghan National Policeman, possibly in conjunction with another, went rogue.
"His motives and whereabouts are unknown at this time. Every effort is now being put into hunting down those responsible for this attack."
Four of the soldiers were killed immediately and the fifth died of his wounds, the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said.
Their families have been informed.
A total of 92 British service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan this year.
The MoD this evening released the following statement -
It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the names of the five servicemen killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday 3rd November 2009. The soldiers were all killed as a result of gunshot wounds sustained in an attack in the Nad-e'Ali district of Helmand Province.
The five personnel are:
- Warrant Officer 1st Class DARREN CHANT, 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards
- Sergeant MATTHEW TELFORD, 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards
- Guardsman JAMES MAJOR, 1st Battalion The Grenadier Guards
- Acting Corporal STEVEN BOOTE, Royal Military Police
- Corporal NICHOLAS WEBSTER-SMITH, Royal Military Police
Speaking to Channel 4 News, Captain Doug Beattie, who served two tours in Afghanistan mentoring the Afghan national police, said: "I think we were all very conscious of the Afghan police and the Afghan police failings.
"They're not really policemen at all, but paid militia which have had very little training and has major influences coming from tribal areas, from their families and from the insurgency itself.
"We were always on the guard for instances when they may turn on us.
"The relationship between the mentoring British and his counterpart in the Afghan police is extremely close. We talk about each other's lives, each other's aspirations, they tell us about their families and we tell them about ours.
"We live together, we sleep in the same compounds, we eat the same food, we fight shoulder to shoulder and in the most part there's no problem.
"This incident, as tragic as it is, is extremely rare. But it's important that we continue this mentoring process, it's fundamental for success with the police in Afghanistan.
"There's many a time when the Afghan police have turned their weapons on me and I've had to talk them down.
"In 2006, I went on a patrol and I was ambushed by the insurgency mixed in with Afghan police. There was times when I watched them murder a prisoner in front of our eyes while they held us at gunpoint.
"There are many issues them and added to that is the drug-taking.
"It is at an epidemic level within the police, heroin and cannabis, and that affects the way they are as well and there are many times when I've turned up to a checkpoint to see needles on the floor, the accoutrements of drug-taking and we've had to leave quite quickly."