Colleagues may have shot UK soldier in Afghanistan
A British soldier who died in southern Afghanistan may have been killed by one of his own colleagues, the defence ministry in London said on Monday, Reuters reported.
The unnamed soldier, from the Royal Military Police, was killed by small arms fire in central Helmand province on Sunday.
"There is a possibility that the latest death in Afghanistan was caused as a result of friendly fire," a defence ministry spokesman said in a statement. "No firm conclusion will be reached until after the coroner's inquest."
Britain has more than 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, based mainly in the south, as part of a NATO-led force fighting Taliban militants.
A total of 241 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.
No more details of the shooting were available. The dead man's family has asked officials not to name him for 24 hours.
Earlier this month, U.S.-led coalition forces killed six Afghan policemen and one civilian in a case of mistaken identity while targeting a Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan.
This year has been the deadliest for British and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. More than 80 percent of casualties among foreign forces there in 2009 have been British or American.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has repeatedly been forced to defend his decision to keep troops in Afghanistan.
Polls suggest Brown will lose an election due by next June, and he has tried to portray his help for the NATO force as crucial in preventing militants from launching attacks on British soil.