Rogue Afghan ‘nearly died’ after shooting soldier son of Yarmouth woman

THE rogue Afghan policeman who murdered five British troops, including a Norfolk woman's son, could have been shot dead minutes later, an inquest heard yesterday.

The gunman - known only as Gulbuddin - fled the scene of where he had executed the soldiers in cold blood, including Warrant Officer Class 1 Darren Chant, 40, whose mother Elizabeth has lived in Great Yarmouth since 1987.

The Afghan National Police (ANP) checkpoint then came under fire from two men, one of whom was wearing similar clothing to Gulbuddin and the other dressed in white, from a field 250 metres to the north east.

British troops stationed on the roof of Checkpoint Blue 25 - in the Nad-e-Ali district of Helmand Province - returned fire.

Guardsman Paul Steane said he saw an Afghan national wearing a blue dishdash - a traditional Arab robe - fall to the ground having been shot by a guardsman, who was armed with a GPMG machine gun.

'I looked down there and I am sure that the one in blue dropped and fell to the ground and the one in white ran off,' the soldier told the hearing in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Gulbuddin had fled the checkpoint after shooting WO1 Chant, Sgt Matthew Telford, 37, and Guardsman Jimmy Major, 18, from the Grenadier Guards, as well as Corporal Steven Boote, 22, and Corporal Nicholas Webster-Smith, 24, from the Royal Military Police.

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Another six British soldiers and two Afghan policemen were wounded in the attack on November 3, 2009.

The off-duty soldiers were all unarmed and were not wearing body armour either.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the murders and some reports suggested Gulbuddin escaped back to them, but military sources have previously suggested the attack was probably unconnected to the insurgents.

Guardsman Steane, who serves with 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, said after the shootings he went onto the roof of the checkpoint and came under fire from the nearby field.

He said he did not know whether either of the men was Gulbuddin but one was wearing similar clothing to the rogue policeman.

'It is possible but I am not 100pc sure,' he said.

The inquest heard no body was ever recovered from the field but it was quite possible insurgents had taken it away.

The inquest heard because the ANP were so poorly trained, ill-disciplined and open to corruption, British troops would work alongside the police to train and mentor them.

The British soldiers were at the checkpoint in the village of Shin Kalay because of a 'blood feud' over a piece of land between a police commander and the local Taliban.

That had caused tensions between villagers and the ANP, which had been accused of beatings and bribery.

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