The Taliban claimed responsibility today for the killing of five British soldiers by a rogue Afghan policeman.
The servicemen, three from the Grenadier Guards and two from the Royal Military Police, died when the officer turned his gun on them at a checkpoint in Nad-e-Ali in Helmand Province yesterday.
Another six British soldiers and two Afghan policemen were wounded in the shooting, which sent shockwaves through the coalition mission in Afghanistan.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told the House of Commons that the Taliban had claimed responsibility for the killings.
Top British, US and Afghan commanders expressed deep regret for the incident, and pledged that it would be fully investigated.
Brigadier General Mirwais Noorzai, deputy regional commander of police, said Afghan officials were committed to uncovering the truth about what happened.
He told a press conference in Helmand’s provincial capital, Lashkar Gah: “I have imparted our sympathy and regret to the families of the soldiers killed.”
Sitting alongside him, Major General Nick Carter, the British commander of Nato troops in southern Afghanistan, stressed that it was a joint investigation between foreign forces and the Afghan authorities.
“This absolutely demonstrates the top-level commitment of the Afghan government into coming to terms and finding out what took place in this incident and learning the appropriate lessons from it,” he said.
The British servicemen were living and working at the checkpoint as part of a team mentoring Afghan National Police (ANP) officers.
The Afghan policeman 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, the BBC reported.