Soldier jailed for stabbing boy

 

A British solider has been jailed for stabbing a 10-year-old Afghan boy while in Helmand Province, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed.

Grenadier Guardsman Daniel Crook was sent to military prison for 18 months for bayoneting Ghulam Nabi, the MoD said.

Crook had been drinking heavily the night before he attacked the boy, who was running an errand.

The evening before the incident, in March last year, Crook had to be treated by medics after drinking a "considerable quantity of vodka", his court martial hearing was told.

The next day his unit left a checkpoint in the Nad e Ali district to go on patrol. Crook followed, arming himself with two grenades and a bayonet because his rifle had been confiscated as a safety measure.

He came across two Afghans riding bikes - one of them was Ghulam, who had been sent out to collect a bottle of yoghurt.

According to prosecutors, the child had pestered Crook for chocolate. In response, the shamed soldier "took hold of the boy's shoulder and stabbed him in the region of his kidneys with his bayonet".

Afterwards, Crook caught up with the patrol and admitted he had stabbed the child. When questioned by military police he could not explain why he stabbed the boy.

At the court martial in June, Crook was jailed and dismissed from the Army.

The boy's father Haji Shah Zada, 72, told The Guardian he cannot understand why his son was attacked and has received no apology from the British forces.

The shopkeeper and farmer told the newspaper his son is still suffering and has not yet been back to school.

He said British forces were "in Afghanistan to build the country and remove insurgents, not to stab a child".

An MoD spokesman said: "Protecting the Afghan civilian population is one of ISAF and the UK's top priorities.

"All British troops undergo comprehensive training on the strict rules of engagement that UK forces and ISAF operate under. Any allegations of infringements of these rules of engagement are investigated thoroughly.

"Those who are found to fall short of the Army's high standards or who are found to have committed an offence are dealt with administratively - up to and including discharge - or through the discipline process, as appropriate." PA

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