World News

UK fire said to kill Danes in Afghanistan

The coffins of two Danish soldiers killed in Helmand province, Afghanistan, are carried out of a military transport plane shortly after arriving at Karup Military Airport in Jutland October 4, 2007. The soldiers were killed during battles with the Taliban on September 26, 2007. REUTERS/Claus Fisker/Scanpix

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Two Danish soldiers killed in Afghanistan while fighting Taliban insurgents were victims of friendly fire from a British unit, the Danish Army Central Command said on Tuesday.

The army said its investigation showed that the two soldiers were killed on September 26 by a Javelin anti-tank missile fired by British soldiers in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan.

“My thoughts go first and foremost to their relatives, who so tragically lost their loved ones,” said Major General Poul Kiaerskou, head of the Army Central Command, in a statement.

“My thoughts go also to our British allies, who now have to live with the knowledge that two Danish colleagues were accidentally killed by British fire. That’s a situation no soldier wants to find himself in.”

Brigadier Andrew Mackay, who commands a task force of British, Danish and Estonian troops in Helmand, issued a statement expressing deep sympathy to the families and friends of the two Danes.

He said the British army would conduct its own thorough investigation into the incident and would make no further comment until that was completed.

Denmark has about 550 soldiers in Afghanistan. So far six have died in combat, while three others were killed while trying to dismantle a mine.

Reporting by Gelu Sulugiuc, Editing by Mark Trevelyan