Coroner said soldiers died in ‘horrific attack’

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Picture Ian Hargreaves  (181100-1)

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THE coroner at the inquest into the deaths of Darren Chant and four other soldiers said they died in ‘an horrific attack’.

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, coroner David Ridley said rogue Afghan policeman Gulbuddin Mohammed left his position on guard and ‘malevolently opened fire on those who had gone to Afghanistan to improve the lives of Afghan nationals.’

The four-day inquest in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, heard WO1 Chant was leading a team of soldiers training Afghan National Police (ANP) at checkpoint Blue 25 in the village of Shin Kalay, Nad-e’ Ali district, Helmand province.

The inquest heard there were a number of problems with Afghan officers, including drug taking on duty and disobedience. Particular concerns were raised about Gulbuddin who was seen smoking cannabis on duty ‘until he couldn’t walk straight’ and was aggressive to soldiers. The coroner had been asked to make a ruling about whether the UK failed in its obligation to protect the soldiers’ lives under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

But Mr Ridley ruled the UK had not failed the troops, adding: ‘I’m satisfied that there is no evidence that the soldiers, and consequently the authorities, knew or ought to have known there was a real or immediate risk carried to those at Blue 25 from any member of the Afghan National Police - including Gulbuddin -serving at that particular checkpoint.’