British officer held over Afghan casualties leak

Thursday 05 February 2009 01:00
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A senior British Army officer has been arrested in Kabul and faces charges under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking figures about civilian casualty figures in Afghanistan to a human rights group.

Lt-Col Owen McNally was detained after details about people killed and wounded during Western military operations were leaked from Nato headquarters in the Afghan capital. According to defence sources, Col McNally had become friendly with a female employee of a human rights group which had been carrying out an inquiry into the extent of "collateral damage".

The issue is highly sensitive in Af- ghanistan, with more than 8,000 deaths in the eight years since the fall of the Taliban. Col McNally, 48, of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, was arrested last Sunday after an investigation carried out by the Royal Military Police. He is in custody in Kabul and is expec- ted to be flown to the UK within 48 hours.

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