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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 December 2006, 11:32 GMT
Afghan 'civilian shooting' probed
Military vehicle damaged by suicide bomb in Afghanistan
A military convoy was targeted by a suicide car bomb attack
An investigation has been held into allegations that British troops opened fire indiscriminately in Afghanistan after a suicide car bomb.

Eyewitnesses claim one person was killed and six others wounded when Royal Marines opened fire.

A British spokesman said the matter had been investigated, and "proportional and reasonable" force had been used.

Three Marines were injured in the suicide attack on a Nato-led convoy in Kandahar City last Sunday.

Eyewitnesses said troops then fired indiscriminately at civilians.

A local journalist said he was among those shot at, and that a bullet had missed him and struck a man on a bike.

There are other reports that troops also opened fire at a number of roundabouts on their way out of the city.

Map of Afghanistan

The Royal Military Police investigated whether the troops acted outside the rules of engagement.

The British spokesman in southern Afghanistan, Lt Col Andy Price, said the investigation had been thoroughly completed and that proportional and reasonable force had been used throughout.

The men perceived a serious risk, and had fired only after warning shots and flares had been fired, he said.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said reports of civilian injuries were being investigated.

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Afghanistan said the incident had done little to help the "hearts and minds" mission in Kandahar, where there had been a strong reaction among civilians to the shootings.

'Warning shots'

One of the three marines from 45 Commando injured in the bomb attack was seriously hurt.

The MoD said at least two civilians were also killed by the blast - the fourth suicide attack in the area in a week - and several people injured.

A spokesman said: "This was a typically indiscriminate attack from the Taleban, who didn't care if they killed or injured innocent Afghans around our forces.

"Immediately following the attack warning shots were fired in an effort to keep vehicles away from the scene.

"There are reports that some civilians may have been injured and these reports are currently being investigated.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further whilst this investigation is ongoing."


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