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LONDON: Two British soldiers, one of them a female medic, and a man believed to be an Afghan policeman were killed in a shooting incident in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence in London said yesterday.
The Times newspaper reported that a gunbattle broke out when British troops in southern Helmand province mistook the policeman for an insurgent, but the ministry said the circumstances were still being investigated.
The Afghan was not in uniform and was not part of the foot patrol that the British forces were carrying out in Nahr-e Saraj district when the incident happened on Wednesday, the ministry said in a statement.
“There was an exchange of gunfire that resulted in the deaths of a Royal Marine... a female soldier from 3 Medical Regiment and an Afghan man who is believed to be a member of the Afghan Uniformed Police but who was not wearing uniform at the time,” the spokesman said.
“The UK patrol were not working with any Afghan partners at the time.”
The spokesman added: “At this stage we do not know what initiated the exchange of gunfire and an investigation is ongoing. Further details will be provided as information becomes available but at this time the situation remains unclear.”
A Ministry of Defence spokesman declined to give further details whether it was believed to be a case of mistaken identity, or whether it was one of growing number of so-called insider attacks by Afghan forces on their Western allies.