Army medic and Royal Marine killed in Afghanistan firefight that started by 'mistake'

 

An army medic, who died alongside a Royal Marine in a firefight in Helmand involving the local police, has become the third woman soldier to be killed in Afghanistan.

Tonight there was confusion and controversy over claims that the fatal firefight had started by “mistake”.

The soldier was identified last night as 25 year old Channing Day from Northern Ireland, serving with 3 Medical Regiment. A friend, Iona Montgomery, 43,from Comber, County Down, said: “She was so proud to be in the Army, so proud to wear the uniform. The family are very close, my heart is breaking for them.”

The Ministry of Defence stated that an investigation was being launched into what happened at Nahr-e-Seraj district during a routine patrol. But Afghan officials maintained that an off duty policeman, out of uniform but armed, was thought to be an insurgent by the British forces and shooting subsequently started. Other policemen in the vicinity thought they had come under attack and they, too, started shooting.

Haji Toryali, chief of police at the district told the Afghan media that a policeman had been engaged in ritual washing before prayers when “One of two Isaf (Nato-led International Security Assistance Force) patrols thought he was Taleban and started shooting at him. The policeman stood up and said ‘I am police, I am police. The other (Afghan) policemen then thought they were under attack and started shooting back, which made the British forces shoot more. They even fired rockets.”

Colonel Nabi Elham, the chief of Helmand police, described the event as a tragic misunderstanding. Major Laurence Roche, spokesman for the Helmand task force, said: “I am extremely sorry to announce the deaths of a Royal Marine from 40 Commando and a soldier from 3 Medical Regiment serving with Task Force Helmand. This is dreadful news for all of us serving in Afghanistan. Our sincere condolences go to their families, friends and colleagues at this time of grief.”

Following a spate of shootings of Western service personnel by members of Afghan security forces, Isaf had suspended some joint operations. Initial reports about the Nahr-e-Seraj shootings had mentioned such a ‘green on blue’ attack; if the account given by Afghan officials is true then British and Afghan commanders would be fully engaged in limiting any adverse fallout.

In a separate incident two US soldiers were killed today when a man wearing an Afghan police uniform shot them both in the head. The killer is thought to have been the bodyguard of the Khas Uruzgan district police chief Commander Noorzai.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower