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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 03:19 GMT 04:19 UK
British peacekeeper dies
Royal Marines
It is the first British fatality of the Afghan conflict.
A British peacekeeper accidentally shot in the head while serving in Afghanistan has died, the Ministry of Defence has said.

The soldier, from the Royal Anglian Regiment, was on patrol in the capital Kabul on Tuesday morning when the incident happened.

A military spokesman said a gun had gone off accidentally. It is the first British fatality of the Afghan conflict.

The man's family has been informed of his death and has requested his name is not released.


The soldier had been treated at a French military hospital and was being flown out of the country when he died.

Lieutenant-Colonel Neal Peckham, the spokesman for the UK-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), said the incident "did not involve any party outside of Isaf".

The incident is now being investigated by British military police.

The soldier, who was from Essex, was a member of the Royal Anglian 1st Battalion based in Pirbright, Surrey.

Between eight and 12 troops were patrolling a dangerous area in the west of Kabul when the shooting happened at 10.50am local time (6.20am British time).

Armed robberies

It has been hit by a wave of armed robberies blamed on unemployed Northern Alliance soldiers who fought against the Taleban.

Several peacekeepers have been shot at in the area, known as District 6, in recent weeks, said Lt Col Peckham.

The incident came as other members of the Royal Anglian Regiment held a sombre ceremony at their Kabul base to mark the Queen Mother's funeral.

Some 300 soldiers said prayers and listened as bagpipes and bugles were played during the ceremony at a former wheat factory just off dusty Jalalabad road.

The Queen Mother was honorary colonel-in-chief of the regiment from its formation in 1964.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
"It appears there was an accidental discharge of a weapon"
See also:

09 Apr 02 | South Asia
UK marines seize Afghan caves
09 Apr 02 | South Asia
Soldiers face 'bounty' threat
03 Apr 02 | South Asia
UK marines arrive in Afghanistan
03 Apr 02 | South Asia
UK marines 'face tough challenge'
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