More British Lives Lost

Afghanistan witnessed yet more bloodshed this week as 5 British soldiers were gunned down by a member of the Afghan Police, who they were training and working with.

The attack happened in the Helmand Province; all we know of the Policeman’s identity is the name ‘Gulbadin’. The British soldiers had been working with the Policeman for several days before he turned his gun on them while they were drinking tea. Sources have said that he has ties with the Taliban, and is now back under their protection. It has been said that they welcomed him with flowers.

Afghan and British commanders have now launched an urgent investigation into why and how this happened, to get a clearer idea of the circumstances surrounding the attack. The five soldiers have been named by the Ministry of Defence as Sergeant Matthew Telford, Warrant Officer Darren Chant, Guardsman James Major, Corporal Nicholas Webster-Smith and Acting Corporal Steven Boote. The attack happened in the village of Shin Kalay at a military compound.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown had given the duty to the British Army to train Afghan Security forces as a major part of our exit strategy, but the plan had dire consequences. The latest fatalities bring the death toll of British forces in Southern Afghanistan up to 92 this year, compared to 51 last year. It has been the bloodiest year now for us since the Falklands War.

Information is currently being gathered about the killer to establish his identity. It has been discovered that he joined the Afghan Police around 3 years ago, training initially in the city of Kandahar. He was an Alozai tribe member, but the Noorzai Tribe dominate the Police in that area.

Tribal elders spoke out after the shootings saying that they were aware Gulbadin had links with the Taliban. They described a furious row that he had recently with his Police Commander, Muhammad Wali, and was no longer able to work with him. He was said to be reassigned to Shin Kalay, under Commander Manam. He was then injured during the attack, but it is currently unknown whether or not he was originally a target.

There is no clear evidence that the attacked was planned in advance by the Taliban, but investigators are currently looking into the possibility. Brixton Escorts are amongst those Britons who have friends or family out in Afghanistan, and they pray for their safe return.