Five British soldiers shot dead by Afghan policeman

The police opened fire at a military compound in Helmand province on Tuesday.

Five British soldiers shot dead by Afghan policeman

An Afghan policeman has shot dead five British soldiers at a checkpoint in southern Afghanistan, the defence ministry in London said on Wednesday.

The police opened fire at a military compound in Helmand province on Tuesday.

British soldiers returned fire, but the policeman escaped and is still at large, a defence ministry spokeswoman said. An investigation into the shooting is under way.

An Afghan national policeman from the checkpoint started firing without warning "before anyone could really respond," the spokesman said.

"Withdraw troops"

Former Foreign Office minister Kim Howells, who chairs a parliamentary security committee, said Britain should withdraw most of its troops and focus on security at home.

"It would be better to bring home the great majority of our fighting men and women and concentrate instead on using the money saved to secure our own borders (and) gather intelligence on terrorist activities inside Britain," he wrote in an article for the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday.

Britain is the second largest army in NATO occupation of Afghanistan with 9,000 troops.

Afghan election officials cancelled a presidential run-off election on Monday after Afghan President Hamid Karzai's rival, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, withdrew citing serious concerns about the election.


Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Kasım 2009, 14:05
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