Three British soldiers have been killed by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform who shot them at a checkpoint.
The men, members of an Afghan Police Advisory Team, were leaving a shura – or meeting of elders – at Checkpoint Kamparack Pul in Nahr-e-Saraj, Helmand Province, when they were shot yesterday.
They received first aid at the scene but died of their injuries. Two of the men were serving with the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards and the other was serving with the Royal Corps of Signals. Their next of kin have been informed.
The gunman had been wearing an Afghan National Civil Order Police uniform, the International Security Assistance Force said.
An investigation into the incident, the latest so-called “green on blue” attack in which members of the Afghan security or police forces have opened fire on international allies, has been launched. Four other British soldiers have died in similar circumstances so far this year.
UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “I was saddened to hear of this cowardly act by a man wearing an Afghan uniform, which has taken the lives of three brave British soldiers.
“All of our thoughts are with the families of these men who have died in such tragic circumstances."
The deaths bring the total number of members of UK forces to have died since operations in Afghanistan began in October 2001 to 422.
Yesterday’s shootings happened on the day Afghan National Security Forces took the security lead in southern Afghanistan. In a ceremony at Camp Hero in Kandahar Province, the International Security Assistance Force handed over responsibility to the body, which includes the Afghan National Army, Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Border Police and Afghan National Civil Order Police.
The Regional Command (South) region, which includes Kandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan and Daykundi provinces, is the first area in Afghanistan where such a transition has taken place.